Master of Philosophy (Chemical Engineering)

The Department of Chemical Engineering is currently looking for an outstanding Master’s applicant under the supervision of A/Prof. Chua Han Bing and Dr. Lau Shiew Wei. The proposed research title is “Spectrometric analysis of flocculation activity and molecular interactions of chitosan-like bioflocculant of Citrobacter strains to improve sludge dewatering”. Sludge production from wastewater treatment is an increasing environmental problem due to the difficulty in sludge handling and disposal which involve significant amount of expensive chemical flocculants in the dewatering operations. As a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to these chemical flocculants, bioflocculants such as polyglutamic acid and chitosan have been found promising despite their low market share due to high production costs and limited bioresources. Chitosan-like bioflocculant produced by Citrobacter strains is an innovation to the conventional chitin/chitosan derived from shrimps and crabs. On-going work is looking at the optimisation and scaling-up of fermentation, concentration and recovery of the chitosan-like bioflocculant from the cultures. In the meantime, it is important to understand the flocculation activity and molecular interactions between the bioflocculant and sludge as well as process parameters affecting sludge flocculation and dewatering. Successful outcomes from this work will provide a good fundamental understanding of the role of the chitosan-like bioflocculant in terms of adsorption, charge neutralisation and bridging with sludge particles

Applicants are expected to meet the following criteria:

  1. Minimum a Second Upper Honours degree at Bachelor’s level in chemical engineering or equivalent
  2. Practical skills for experimental work and ability to adapt to routine work in lab
  3. Good communication skills and command of English

This is a 2-year research project, starting as early as March 2018, where the successful candidate would receive a scholarship award. The scholarship is eligible for Malaysian applicants, and it covers both tuition fees and monthly stipend of RM1,500. Applicants should submit a letter detailing her/his motivation and skills with a curriculum vitae including two to three references to Dr. Lau Shiew Wei (email add.: lau.shiew.wei@curtin.edu.my, FoES Building Room SK3-335, phone no. 085-443939 ext. 2419) and cc. to Associate Dean R&D of FoES, Associate Prof. Dr.Ramasamy Nagarajan (email:nagarajan@curtin.edu.my)

Closing date: 31 March 2018

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