Master Thesis | Modelling of PA6 dissolution in a CaCl2-EtOH-H2O mixture with experimental validation

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg

Type of Job


Structural and Cell Biology Chemistry Complex Systems

Job offer from October 16, 2023

The Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems (MPI) in Magdeburg is looking for a student (m/f/d) for a Master's thesis within the Max DePoly project starting 1 January 2024. The project deals with the recycling of polymers, especially polyamides (PA). Further information on the project can be found here.


In the future, closed cycles in the chemical industry will represent an important contribution to the sustainable development of our society. Energetically efficient and cost-effective closed-loop
processes offer promising potential for reducing the consumption of fossil raw materials. The Max- DePoly project at the MPI is pursuing the goal of researching the physical-chemical fundamentals of recycling polyamide plastic waste. For this purpose, it is necessary to selectively separate and purify these polymers from a mixed plastic fraction in order to be able to feed them back into the cycle as a
pure material. PA6 can be selectively dissolved in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective CaCl2-EtOH-H2O mixture (CEW). In order to realise a true closed-loop process, it is necessary that this solvent is recycled again after precipitation of the polyamide by means of an antisolvent. The aim of the master's thesis is to model how this recycling of solvent and antisolvent can be implemented as energy- efficiently as possible and to validate this model experimentally.

Task description

  • Literature research on the dissolution of PA in a CaCl2-EtOH-H2O mixture,
  • Modelling of a recycling process for PA in a CEW solvent for dissolution and a suitable antisolvent for precipitation,
  • Variation of antisolvent and antisolvent amount with computer-aided estimation of phase equilibria for separation of the solvent-antisolvent mixture,
  • Comparison of the modelled energy demand with other recycling processes such as mechanical or chemical recycling of PA6,
  • Experimental validation of important steps of the best modelled recycling process.

Your profile

  • Bachelor's degree in chemistry, process engineering, chemical engineering, biosystems engineering, environmental and energy process engineering or a similar technical course with above-average grades,
  • Familiarity with mass and energy balances and phase equilibria for process modelling,
  • Modelling experience with simulation programs such as Aspen Plus® or similar,
  • Ability to work and learn independently, especially in further education with simulation programmes,
  • Laboratory experience with vacuum filtration, rotary evaporator, fractional distillation, recrystallisation and some analytical methods such as TGA and DSC.

Our offer

  • Co-development of key technologies in an exciting and current research project.
  • First-class, weekly supervision and training by our staff members
  • Acquisition of knowledge in process modelling and chemical laboratory work

Start: from 1 Januar 2024 at the earliest
Work mode: at MPI, remote work possible in parts
Supervisor: M.Sc. Ruben Goldhahn
First examiner: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kai Sundmacher
Second examiner: Dr. techn. Liisa K. Rihko-Struckmann

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Your application

If you are interested, please send your CV and grade summary to M.SC. Ruben Goldhahn via by 31 December 2023 so we can schedule an interview.

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