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PhD Student Sponsored For Research by Innovation Centre

Wed, 10 April, 2019

The TWI-based Non-Metallic Innovation Centre (NIC) has sponsored PhD student Abdelbar Benaida to investigate a new type of barrier employing graphene’s impermeability to gases. The PhD topic is being coordinated in association with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) and the University of Manchester.

Having already achieved a 1st class BEng (Hons) in Petroleum and Mechanical Engineering with the University of Salford, as well as an MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester, Abdelbar will now begin his PhD on the topic of ‘Barrier layer formation in PE-RT for H2S, CO2 and water vapour at 180 ºF (82 ºC) and 1500 psi in the presence of hydrocarbons.’

The PhD, awarded by the University of Manchester, will build upon existing research to study graphene-polyamide composites as a barrier layer against supercritical CO2 and H2S.

Abdelbar will be supervised by TWI Technology Fellow Dr Bernadette Craster and Professor Peter Budd and Professor Ian Kinloch both from the University of Manchester as he aims to improve the barrier properties of raised temperature polyethylene, ultimately for use in liner applications for sour hydrocarbon service.

The research will utilise the University of Manchester’s facilities for polymer moulding and graphene incorporation as well as the advanced permeation facility at TWI. 

Professor Tat-Hean Gan, NSIRC Director and Programme Director of NIC, said, “Through NSIRC, we have been able to bring together the University of Manchester, our research sponsor NIC, and TWI, creating a doctoral degree with industrial impact based upon the need for research from a global industry."

Dr Bernadette Craster, added, "We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with Professor Budd, Professor Kinloch and Abdelbar on this topic. Abdelbar’s PhD topic will require innovative research and has great significance for his sponsor [the Non-metallic Innovation Centre] and the University.”

Abdelbar said, “It’s a great pleasure to have joined NSIRC for my PhD. The combination of working within industry and academia for my research is significant, and an opportunity that is difficult to match.”

TWI’s Director of Research, Dr Paul Woollin, noted, “I am particularly pleased that the NSIRC PhD programme has created an opportunity for a young engineer to undertake research in TWI’s unique permeation laboratory under the combined supervision of Professors Peter Budd and Ian Kinloch, world-leading graphene experts from the University of Manchester, and TWI’s Technology Fellow Dr Bernadette Craster, who has leading experience of solving permeation challenges for the oil and gas industry.”

NSIRC is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI. NSIRC unites academia and industry, working closely with lead academic partner Brunel University London and more than 20 other respected universities, as well as founder sponsors BP and the Lloyd's Register Foundation. The collaborating partners provide academic excellence to address the need for fundamental research, as well as high-quality, industry-relevant training for the next generation of structural integrity engineers.


Abdelbar Benaida, NSIRC and University of Manchester PhD Student, sponsored by NIC (Non-metallic Innovation Centre)
Abdelbar Benaida, NSIRC and University of Manchester PhD Student, sponsored by NIC (Non-metallic Innovation Centre)

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