Postdoctoral position in Bio-based Thermoplastic Elastomers
This work will be carried out in the Renewable Materials and Nanotechnology research group (Department of Chemical Engineering) of Prof. Wim Thielemans at the KU Leuven Campus Kulak Kortrijk. The research group is focused on the development of materials from renewable resources and is equipped with all the necessary equipment for these studies including fully equipped wet chemical labs, elemental analysis, size exclusion chromatography (SEC), light scattering, small and wide angle x-ray scattering (S/WAXS), x-ray photo-electron spectroscopy (XPS), dynamic scanning and isothermal titration calorimeter (DSC and ITC), and access to nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and electron microscopy facilities. Our research group at current consists of 8 PhD students and 5 postdoctoral researchers, and we also have numerous international scientific collaborations.
Objectives of the project:
The aim of the project is to develop bio-based thermoplastic elastomers. The postdoctoral researcher will prepare phase-separating ABA block copolymers using bio-based monomers by either condensation or controlled radical polymerization.
Block co-polymers with varying composition will be prepared, fully chemically characterized and tested for phase-separation and elastomeric behavior.
Thermoplastic elastomers (PTEs) are a class of elastomeric polymers that use phase separation and physical crosslinks to create elastomers. Their benefit over chemically crosslinked elastomers is that they can be recycled and reshaped. For these reasons, TPEs are gaining increased interest in industry. Through interaction with industrial partners, we have established that there is a need for bio based and for polar TPEs. Most commercial TPEs at the moment are non-polar and petroleum based. By creating bio-based TPEs we can also introduce polarity into TPEs in a rather straightforward manner.
This position is part of the larger ElastoPlast project that involves research institutes in northern France and in Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia). Other partners work on 2nd generation petroleum-based TPEs, 3D printing of TPEs, TPE foaming, and the development of TPE demonstrators for industrial commercialization. Our research group at KU Leuven has the task of developing bio-based TPEs. Interaction with the other partners is part of the project to exchange ideas and aid each other where appropriate.
We seek an enthusiastic scientist with a PhD in Chemistry focused onpolymer synthesis and characterization. The applicant should have experience inpolymer synthesis and relevant chemical and physical characterization techniques(NMR and FTIR spectroscopy, elemental analysis, SEC, SAXS, DSC, opticalpolarized light microscopy and (thermo-)mechanical testing).
Due to the fellowship restrictions, we can only accept candidates from the European Economic Area that have not worked or studied in Belgium during the last 3 years.
The position will remain open until filled and applications will be reviewed as they come in.
We offer a Postdoctoral Fellowship for 1 year with the possibility for extension with a salary commensurate of previous experience.
KU Leuven - Universiteit