PhD Studentship, Waste Plastics Derived Bitumen w-Bitumen

Birmingham, United Kingdom
19 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
30 Apr 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

Engineering and Applied Science - Studentships

Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Tuesday 30 April 2019

Applications are invited for a three year PhD studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR) at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established research group working on Transport Infrastructures and Construction Materials led by Dr Yuqing Zhang. The studentship is offered in collaboration with a leading construction materials company, Aggregate Industries UK, Ltd.

The position is available to start in January or April 2019 (subject to negotiation).

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees of £4,260 in 2018/19 plus a maintenance allowance of £14,777 in 2018/19. 

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £12,290 in 2018/19.

As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

Background to the Project

Petroleum-derived bitumen is being used as a binder in asphalt for constructing 95% of the UK’s transport infrastructures such as roads, highways, airport runways and car parks. The growing bitumen price and environmental pressures have increased the demand for alternative and renewable bitumen. In the meanwhile, the UK produces a huge amount of recyclable waste plastics every year, while only one-third is effectively recycled. By converting waste into high-value fuels and renewable construction materials, this project will promote the waste material recycling and also preserve the natural petroleum resources. This study will make use of pyrolysis and upgrading technologies to process mixed waste plastics to produce a waste-derived bitumen (w-bitumen) with durable and reliable road engineering performance in addition to pyrolysis fuels. Experimental study on w-bitumen and the resulting asphalt will be included as a critical stage to evaluate the material’s engineering performance.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in the areas of Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering or Material Engineering. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of Bituminous Materials, Pavement Engineering, Bioenergy Engineering, Waste Processing or Construction Material Experimentation. 

We would particularly like to encourage applications from women seeking to progress their academic careers. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recognised recently by a prestigious Silver Award to EAS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Dr Yuqing Zhang by email at

Submitting an application

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here

Applications must also be accompanied by a research proposal giving an overview of the main themes of the research as detailed in the Background to the Project section above.  This should demonstrate your understanding of the research area and how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via