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Master Thesis Project- Hexagonal boron nitride as gas barrier additive

The relentlessly growing plastic pollution on land and oceans is posing a global challenge. To reduce plastic pollution, there is a strong incentive worldwide to transition from fossil-based packaging materials to sustainable alternatives, such as paperboard. However, most biodegradable polymer coatings that act as a barrier on the paperboard do not meet the high requirements of various industries. In the past few years, the two-dimensional material hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), also touted as “white graphene”, has started to gain attention as a promising barrier-enhancing additive.

The combination of impermeability to gases, thermal conductivity and stability, and mechanical strength makes hBN an excellent candidate to enhance the barrier properties of polymer coatings for the paperboard. Naturally, the physical and chemical properties of the hBN material play an important role in the aqueous dispersion and ultimately the barrier coating of the paper packaging. As the first step in this development, there is a need to select suitable hBN material grades intended for paper packaging as well as understand the interactions between hBN and compatible dispersing agents in water.

Thesis Content
This master thesis project focuses mainly on the characterization and selection of commercially available hBN material grades for paper packaging. The material characteristics of interest are mainly thickness and lateral dimensions (aspect ratio), crystal quality, and elemental composition. In this project, the student will get familiar with a set of characterization techniques, such as atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and many more. In addition, the selected hBN material grades will be used for the preparation of aqueous hBN dispersions and formulated into composite films for further evaluations, and potentially barrier measurements.

Student Profile
The ideal master of science student has a background in polymer chemistry, materials chemistry, nanotechnology, or similar. Acquainted with basic laboratory work and characterization techniques. Interested in developing sustainable packaging solutions of the future.

Starting Date
The master thesis project will be performed at RISE’s Binders and Additives unit situated close to KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. The project is expected to start in late August or September 2022.

Welcome with your application!
If this sounds interesting, you can contact Marie Sjöberg at +46 10 516 6083 or Wei Zhao at +46 10 516 6075 for more information. Selection will take place on an ongoing basis and the last application day is 19th of August 2022.

About the position



Contract type

Permanent position

Job type

Student - Master Thesis/Internship

Contact person

Marie Sjöberg

Reference number


Last application date


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