Postgraduate research opportunities

Adsorption of water-containing mixtures in Metal-Organic Framework materials

This project aims to apply molecular simulation methods to study gas separation from mixtures containing water in novel Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) materials. New molecular models will be developed to improve adsorption predictions with application in carbon capture from humid streams.

Number of places



7 March 2021


3.5 years


Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

Project Details

Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are novel crystalline porous materials that have the potential to revolutionise gas separation processes. Due to their myriad possible combinations of organic linkers and metal nodes, it is in principle possible to design a MOF that is suited to every particular gas separation. However, many MOFs are known to degrade under the presence of water, even in small quantities. Due to the current lack of knowledge about the mechanism of water adsorption and of MOF degradation under exposure to humid streams, it is very hard to predict their performance for gas separations in the presence of water. In this project, we will address this pressing fundamental problem by testing and developing new molecular models that are able to describe and predict water adsorption in MOFs. In particular, a multi-scale modelling approach that combines quantum mechanical accuracy for describing the water-metal interactions with the tractability of classical Monte Carlo simulations for calculating adsorption isotherms under realistic conditions will be employed. The resulting models will be applied to predict the selectivity of different materials for carbon dioxide capture by adsorption from humid streams, as relevant in most realistic scenarios for this technology.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Funding Details

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates will be eligible to be considered for a University scholarship.

Contact us

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ

How to apply

Apply for this project here – please quote the project title in your application.

During the application you'll be asked for the following information and evidence uploaded to the application:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you are not from a majority English-speaking country as recognised by UKVI
  • two references, one of which must be academic. Please see our guidance on referees
  • funding or scholarship information
  • international students must declare any previous UK study

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.

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