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PhD Smart brines for minimal surface adsorption in polymer EOR (f/m)

University of Twente (UT). Enschede (Niederlande), 13.09.2017

PhD Smart brines for minimal surface adsorption in polymer EOR

Function types
Scientific fields
Job number
About employer
PhD positions
Natural Sciences, Engineering
38.0 hours per week
€ 2222 - € 2840
Higher Professional Education
University of Twente (UT)

Job description

At the University of Twente, a vacancy exists for a PhD student. The position is shared between the Physics of Complex Fluids (PCF) and Materials Science and Technology of Polymers (MTP) groups. In this PhD project you will study the adsorption of polymer from aqueous solutions onto mineral surfaces, to get a better understanding of this phenomenon in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The crucial binding energy and kinetics for the functional groups of the polymer on different parts of the surfaces (e.g., silica, clay(s), natural rock) will be measured via single molecule pulling experiments using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in ambient brines. Also collective effects involving ensembles of polymer molecules are expected to emerge; these will be studied using Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM-D) and ellipsometry. At both lengthscales, the brine composition (pH, salt content, low molecular weight additives) will provide the means to modify the adsorption. Conditions where adsorption should be minimized in EOR, will be identified using model polymer systems. The research effort should thus result in a comprehensive picture of the physical and chemical factors governing polymer adsorption onto mineral surfaces, and in recommendations for optimized brine compositions in EOR.


For this position we are searching for candidates with an MSc or MEng degree in (physical) chemistry or (experimental) physics. Previous experience with polymers, AFM or QCM-D will be considered as an advantage. Considering the strongly collaborative nature of the project, we are looking for a team player with good communication skills. Further information can be found on the websites: and or by contacting Dr. Michel Duits (

Please send your application, with a detailed CV and a specific motivation letter, through the link below before the 15th of October 2017

Conditions of employment

The University of Twente offers a stimulating work environment in an area of applied, forefront research. You will have a full time employment contract for the duration of 4 years and can participate in all employee benefits the UT offers. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2.222,- in the first year and increases to € 2.840,- in the fourth year of your employment. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%) and an end of year bonus of 8.3%. A high-quality training programme is part of the agreement. The research has to result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period.


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+ and MIRA. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.

Bewerbungsschluss: 15.10.2017