Chemical and Materials Engineering

Surface modification of activated carbons for enhanced volatile anaesthetics adsorption


Saeid Baroutian

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG010

Volatile anaesthetics, such as sevoflurane and desflurane, are commonly used for pain management in hospitals. The volatile anaesthetics are minimally metabolised in patient’s lungs, where most of them are scavenged and released unabated to the atmosphere. These agents are potent greenhouse gases. The magnitude of the carbon footprint from the Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand alone equates to thousands of tonnes carbon dioxide annually. This is equivalent to the carbon footprint of 500 round-trip flights to London from Auckland.

Adsorptive separation is the most extensively investigated processes. Activated carbons, zeolites and metal-organic frameworks, are promising solid adsorbents that are reported to be able to capture the volatile anaesthetics. Among the adsorbents, activated carbons are the most commonly used. Whilst activated carbons are affordable, widely available in the commercial market, and generally safe to operators, the adsorption is non-specific. For enhanced adsorption of volatile anaesthetics, the surface of activated carbons can be modified to improve both their chemical and physical characteristics.

Project aims: The main objective of this project is to evaluate the effect of various surface modifications on activated carbons to enhance the adsorptivity of volatile anaesthetics.
Requirements: The student would have independent working style and able to work under the lab health and safety regulations. In addition, the student must be able to work in the process and analysis laboratories. The student should be self-motivated and hardworking.

Development of single-host phosphors with broad light emission


Saifang Huang, A/Prof. Peng Cao

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG011

In comparison to the traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting sources, white LEDs have remarkable advantages that they have much longer lifetime, higher luminous efficiency, and lower energy consumption etc. Phosphors from a single inorganic host (such as a silicate) will be synthesized, then the photoluminescence properties will be assessed.

This project aims to synthesise a phosphor with a full emission wavelength range (upon UV excitation) for white LED application. The student will mainly use XRD technique for phase structure analysis, and a fluorescence spectroscopy for measuring photoluminescence properties.

A student with phase analysis skills or knowledge on X-ray crystallography is desired. A suite of advanced instrument will be used in this research. This is an excellent training opportunity for student’s final year research project.

UV microencapsulation of organic liquids


Mohammed Farid

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG012

Microencapsulation is used to contain materials such as drug, food, and many organic and inorganic products. It is usually done using suspension polymerisation to produce capsules ranging from nano to micron in size. We have already published a number of papers and one patent on the subject, so the student could do some reading to familiarise himself/ herself with the subject.

We have two types of UV reactor to be used in the project and we have all the chemicals needed.

Nanostructured semiconducting oxides and their energy and photonic applications


Professor Wei Gao

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG013

Studies of transition metal semiconducting oxides, including ZnO, TiO2, WO3 and V2O5, in the forms of thin films and/or porous structures, and their properties and applications for solar energy harvest, microwave adsorption, high efficient light emission, and Raman spectroscopy enhancement.

Understanding Effect of Particle Morphology on Packing


Irina Boiarkina

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG014

Bulk density is an important powder property in industry for storage, shipping and final product quality. However, it is not always clear how to achieve the desired bulk density. The aim of this project is to understand the effect of morphology on bulk density of different powders. Light microscopy will be used with image processing to characterise the morphology of different powders and investigate how it affects packing behaviour.