Environmental

Understanding the role played by aerosols in cloud droplet formation and climate, the composition of particulate matter in polluted urban environments, and the sources of harmful aerosol from, for example, non-exhaust emissions from transport are key areas of focus in environmental aerosols. CDT projects are exploring the composition of secondary organic aerosol, the properties of dispersed pesticides, and aerosol photochemistry. They are also developing new tools to probe cloud droplets and ice nucleating particles. Projects also extend beyond the Earth’s atmosphere to, for example, studies of Venusian clouds.

Ice nucleation in aerosols containing biomolecules

Ice nucleation in environmental aerosols is an important atmospheric process, but many details are still poorly understood. This project addresses the physical chemistry of heterogeneous ice nucleation by bio-nanoparticles. You will develop apparatus to levitate and freeze water droplets, and gain relevant background through environmental modelling and interaction with the British Antarctic Survey.

PhD student: Fraser Crawford
Cohort: 5
Lead supervisor: Prof Walther Schwarzacher
Institution: University of Bristol

Aerosol emissions from future generation aircraft and their impact on climate

The project will develop and use state-of-the-art models to quantify the full impact on climate of aviation emissions from current and future generation aircraft. While recognised as an important climate forcing term, aerosol-cloud interactions are currently not included in global assessments of the aviation impact on climate. The project will directly address this by providing robust estimates of this important but still unquantified effect. This will ensure that the full aviation climate impact is accounted for when designing the best pathways for achieving net-zero carbon emission aviation by 2050, an ambitious target recently set by the aviation industry.

PhD student: Kexin Qiu
Cohort: 5
Lead supervisor: Dr Alex Rap & Prof Benjamin Murray
Institution: University of Leeds

Developing and deploying new sensors for in-situ monitoring of clouds

Clouds form a crucial component of the Earth system, reflecting large amounts of incoming sunlight back into space. Low-cost sensors are needed to allow long-term monitoring of climatically relevant cloud properties, but to-date no such sensor exists. This project will develop and test new sensors for cloud monitoring.

PhD student: Charlie Stainton-Bygrave
Cohort: 4
Lead supervisor: Dr Jonathan Crosier
Institution: The University of Manchester

Secondary Organic Aerosol from Emission Sources; characterisation and use of a new commercial oxidation flow reactor

Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) will become an increasingly important atmospheric PM component as primary emissions reduce. Measurement and regulation requires development and evaluation of instruments enabling accelerated SOA formation. This project will work with industry partners to evaluate accelerated oxidation in a new commercial oxidation flow reactor (OFR).

PhD student: Stephen Robertson
Cohort: 4
Lead supervisor: Dr Gordon McFiggans
Institution: The University of Manchester

This project is an industry funded studentship supported by Dekati Ltd.

Towards a better understanding of the lifecycle of Pesticides in the Atmosphere

Pesticides are widely used throughout the world and are essential components in the efficient production of food.  However, their atmospheric cycles remain very important and poorly understood transport pathways.  You will use a range of advanced aerosol tools and techniques to constrain atmospheric behaviour combining both laboratory and field studies

This studentship is sponsored in partnership with Syngenta.

PhD student: Ujjawal Arora
Cohort: 4
Lead supervisor: Prof Hugh Coe
Institution: The University of Manchester

This project is an industry funded studentship supported by Syngenta.

Interfacial photochemistry in aerosol droplets: chemistry and climate impacts

Aerosol surfaces hold the greatest source of uncertainty for atmospheric chemistry and climate impacts. For example, surface composition determines the ability of atmospheric particles to serve as cloud droplets. This project will study directly light-induced reactivity at the droplet-air interface of individual droplets, linking interfacial composition to atmospheric reactivity.

PhD student: Isabel Quant
Cohort: 3
Lead supervisor: Dr Bryan Bzdek
Institution: University of Bristol

Project poster by Isabel Quant

Photochemical Processing of Atmospheric Aerosol

Atmospheric aerosols impact global warming and human health yet chemical transformations at their surfaces in the presence of sunlight are poorly understood. In this project laboratory studies using two complementary approaches will be used to study photo-processing at aerosol surfaces, with the results exploited using a detailed atmospheric model.

PhD student: Abigail McConnell
Cohort: 3
Lead supervisors: 
Prof Dwayne Heard and Dr Bryan Bzdek
Institution: University of Leeds

Project poster by Abigail McConnell

Using microfluidic technology to measure and identify biological atmospheric ice-nucleating particles

The formation of ice in clouds is one of the least well understood aspects of our planet’s climate system. Our knowledge of the sources, sinks and global distribution of ice-nucleating particles is lacking. In this project you will use new technologies to better understand biological ice-nucleating particles.

PhD student: Polly Foster
Cohort: 3
Lead supervisor: Prof Benjamin Murray
Institution: University of Leeds

Project poster by Polly Foster

Optical Properties of Venusian Clouds

Venus is completely shrouded in thick clouds. This project will investigate the curious blue absorption in the clouds, which is responsible for the yellowish appearance of the planet and remains unexplained. Laboratory optical studies of candidate cloud droplets, combined with atmospheric modelling, will be used to unravel the mystery.

PhD student: Joanna Egan
Cohort: 2
Lead supervisor: Prof John Plane
Institution: University of Leeds

Towards a better understanding of the lifecycle of Pesticides in the Atmosphere

Pesticides are widely used throughout the world and are essential components in the efficient production of food.  However, their atmospheric cycles remain very important and poorly understood transport pathways.  You will use a range of advanced aerosol tools and techniques to constrain atmospheric behaviour combining both laboratory and field studies

This studentship is sponsored in partnership with Syngenta.

PhD student: Olivia Jackson
Cohort: 2
Lead supervisor: Prof Hugh Coe
Institution: The University of Manchester

This project is an industry funded studentship supported by Syngenta.

Improving the understanding of the gas/particle partitioning behaviour of organic aerosols in different environmental conditions 

Understanding the partitioning of molecular constituents between the gas and particle phases is central to the whole endeavour of aerosol science. This project applies ultra-sensitive techniques to investigate the volatilisation of low and semi-volatile components from aerosol particles, their response to humidity and temperature, and refining predictive tools crucial for understanding air quality.

PhD student: Tom Hilditch
Cohort: 1
Supervisors:
 Prof Jonathan Reid (Bristol) and Dr David Topping (Manchester)
Institution: University of Bristol

This project is an industry funded studentship supported by DSTL.

Size, sources and transport of the seeds of ice in clouds 

Our knowledge of the special aerosol particles which trigger ice formation in clouds is extremely poor. This project will take some of the first ever measurements of ice nucleating particle size in order to better understand their transport.

PhD student: Kathleen Thompson
Cohort: 1
Supervisors: 
Prof Ben Murray (Leeds) and Prof Catherine Noakes (Leeds)
Institution: University of Leeds

EPSRC logo

EPSRC CDT in Aerosol Science

University of Bristol
School of Chemistry
Cantock’s Close
Bristol, BS8 1TS
aerosol-science@bristol.ac.uk

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