Research Associate in Recycling of Plastic Waste

Imperial College London

Job description
Job summary

Do you wish to contribute towards the advancement of circular economy of plastic packaging? Apply today to conduct UKRI funded research on optimising the mechanical recycling process of plastic waste.  

Packaging that provides excellent barrier properties is crucial for reducing food waste by extending shelf life. Flexible packaging, including multi-layer designs, have been engineered to provide protection of food from spoilage with minimal use of material. However, the lack of a recycling technology able to handle such packaging has resulted in low (practically zero) recycling rates. You will be part of a multidisciplinary team working together to solve this problem, developing a novel, synergistic integration of traditional mechanical recycling with new (bio) chemical recycling methods. This particular post focusses on the mechanical recycling process and in particular optimising the size reduction stage to facilitate separation of layers while maintaining mechanical properties of the non-hydrolysable recycled plastic.  

Candidates must have a background in Numerical Simulation and Modelling, Mechanics of Materials, Polymer Characterisation and Experimental Design. 

We reserve the right to close the advert prior to the closing date stated should we received a high number of applications. It is therefore advisable that you submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment. 

Duties and responsibilities

  • You will develop simulations using Finite Element Analysis to model shredding, specifically the energy consumption, the microscale damage and geometry of the cut surfaces as a function of important parameters of the shredder. 
  • You will Validate the models by using experimental data obtained from newly designed lab scale instrumented shredder test rig. 
  • You will manage time to deliver milestones as set in the project’s workplan. 

  • You will collaborate with chemists and chemical engineers towards developing the synergy between chemical, biochemical, and mechanical processing for enhanced recycling of multilayer plastic packaging. 

Essential requirements

  • You will have experience in a broad range of techniques including Finite Element Analysis, Modelling of fracture, Experimental Design and Instrumentation. 
  • You will have knowledge of Fracture Mechanics, Mechanics of Solid Materials, Fluid-Solid interaction. 

Further information

This is a fixed term position for up to 30 months in the first instance. 

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant within the salary range £40,694 – £43,888 per annum. 

Queries relating to the position should be directed to Prof Maria Charalambides at [email protected] 

This position is eligible for a hybrid working structure, with a minimum of 3 days per week on site. 

To apply, please click “APPLY NOW” to go through to the online application form. Should you have any queries regarding the application process please contact [email protected]  

We are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. We are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Disability Confident Leader and a Stonewall Diversity Champion. 


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