Study of corrosion risks in biomass transformation and plastics recycling processes



Scientific disciplines

Materials Science and Engineering

Research direction

Applied Physico-chemistry and Mechanics

Affiliate site


As part IFPEN activities on Energy Transition Sustainable Development, a doctoral thesis is proposed in the Electrochemistry and Materials Department at IFP Energies Nouvelles Solaize, 10 km from Lyon, in collaboration with the company APERAM (CIFRE funding).
The work aims at studying specific corrosion risks encountered in biomass transformation and plastic recycling processes. These processes involve high levels of chlorides, organic acids, and water at temperatures up to 300 °C. These environments may induce severe risks of chloride stress corrosion cracking (Cl-SCC) for austenitic stainless steels, which needs to be further investigated. 
The first part of the PhD work will comprise studying the conditions (temperature, pressure, phase composition) found in industrial processes, to precisely identify the environmental conditions that may induce risks of Cl-SCC. This part of the work will benefit from internal support provided by Process Design and Thermodynamic Experts at IFPEN. At the same time, laboratory methods will be developed to experimentally reproduce Cl-stress corrosion cracking at high temperatures. Different types of methods will be evaluated, from simple specimens under static loading (e.g. U-bends) to samples mounted on tensile test machines and exposed to dedicated cells. Here the objective will be to elaborate simple and robust procedures for the second part of the PhD work aimed at investigating the impact of environments representative of biomass transformation and/or recycling of plastics. For instance, a comparison between inorganic and organic chlorides will be carried out, as well as the impact of weak organic acids. Furthermore, remediation strategies could be examined, such as alternative metallurgies.
This work will be carried out in close collaboration between the company APERAM (employer of the candidate), IFPEN (Electrochemistry and Materials Dpt), and the MEMO team from CIRIMAT Laboratory at ENSIACET-INP Toulouse under the supervision of Pauline HUGUENIN (APERAM), Jean KITTEL (IFPEN) and Prof. Christine BLANC (CIRIMAT).

Keywords: Corrosion, Chloride stress corrosion cracking, plastic recycling, biomass transformation

  • Academic supervisor    Prof. Christine BLANC, ENSIACET, ORCID : 0000-0003-2183-0671
  • Doctoral School    ED482, SDM (Sciences de la Matière) Université de Toulouse
  • IFPEN supervisor    Dr Jean KITTEL, ORCID :  0000-0002-8023-1153
  • PhD location    IFPEN Lyon, France  
  • Duration and start date    3 years, starting in the fourth quarter 2024 (Novembre 4)
  • Employer    APERAM
  • Academic requirements    University Master degree in Materials or Mechanics
  • Language requirements    English level B2 (CEFR)    
  • Other requirements    Skills in corrosion and chemistry is an additional asset

To apply, please send your cover letter and CV to the IFPEN supervisor indicated below.

Encadrant IFPEN :