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Non-metallic Innovation Centre recruits first student to its PhD Topic with NSIRC and the University of Manchester

Non-metallic Innovation Centre recruits first student to its PhD Topic with NSIRC and the University of Manchester


Abdelbar Benaida has been recruited to the first Non-metallic Innovation Centre (NIC) sponsored PhD topic with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) and the University of Manchester.

Formally an MSc student in Advanced Chemical Engineering of the same university, Abdelbar’s PhD is titled: 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.

Before beginning his studies with Manchester, Abdelbar received his BEng (Hons) in Petroleum and Mechanical Engineering with the University of Salford, gaining a 1st Class Honours award in 2015. The following year, after being granted a Postgraduate Scholarship due to his exceptional BEng grade, he completed his MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester.

Awarded by the University of Manchester and sponsored by NIC, the research from this PhD will investigate a new type of barrier employing graphene’s impermeability to gases. Recently, a PhD research project also with supervision from Dr Bernadette Craster, TWI and Professor Peter Budd and Professor Ian Kinloch both from the University of Manchester, studied graphene-polyamide composites as a barrier layer against supercritical CO2 and H2S. The new research work starting now, aims to improve the barrier properties of raised temperature polyethylene, ultimately for use in liner applications for sour hydrocarbon service. This research will make use of the facilities for polymer moulding and graphene incorporation at the University of Manchester and also the advanced permeation facility at TWI.  

Professor Tat-Hean Gan, NSIRC Director and Programme Director of NIC, “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, "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 indicated that “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.”

Dr Paul Woollin, Director of Research, TWI, said: “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.”


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