Green chemistry systems for coloration of polyester: development of sustainable solvents systems and application of CO2 chemistry

Type of project

Directly funded PhD projects


Contact Professor Chris Rayner (Chemistry) or Dr Richard Blackburn (Design) to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

The textile industry has huge problems of inefficiency, pollution and waste. Traditional dyeing processes use 5.8 trillion litres of water and 391 billion kWh of energy p.a., and dye remaining after dyeing (plus other auxiliary chemicals), contributes one fifth of the world's industrial water pollution (World Bank). The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) program, a collaborative effort from 62 brands and supply chain affiliates, has issued a report on chemicals it seeks to phase out by 2020 based on hazard concerns they pose to human health, aquatic life, and the environment. Polyester is the number one synthetic fibre produced throughout the world (over 50 million tonnes p.a.), and its demand is expected to grow in the next decade, therefore, greener processes are critical for these final fabrics. Most polyester is dyed with disperse dyes at high temperatures (ca. 135 °C) in water.

To address sustainability concerns in textile dyeing, this PhD research project will study how green systems can be integrated into polyester dyeing processes by exploring alternative, recyclable solvent systems other than water. In another aspect of the research, novel CO2 chemistry will be used to develop new disperse dyes that can be used in water without the need for auxiliary chemicals.

The research will enable the reduction of water consumption (and associated effluent treatment) and auxiliary chemicals providing both significant sustainability and economic benefits to the supply chain of the world’s most important textile fibre.

The studentship is dependent upon the application also meeting the minimum requirements for a PhD in The University of Leeds and receiving an offer of a place.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in a relevant science degree such as (but not limited to) chemistry, colour chemistry, green chemistry or a closely related subject.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the 'Green chemistry systems for coloration of polyester: development of sustainable solvents systems and application of CO2 chemistry’ as well as Professor Chris Rayner as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates.  All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.