EPSRC Funded PhD Studentship: High throughput methodologies and materials characterisation for the optimisation and discovery of new alloys

About the project:


Many alloys used in electronics, medical and aeroengine components, to name a few critical applications in modern day life, depend upon relatively rare metals which are rapidly being depleted at a rate faster than fossil fuels. It is no longer acceptable to build something for single use and disposal. Alternative alloys need to be found based on a wider than ever set of criteria … the alloys need to be cheaper, cleaner to make, use less or no rare materials, operate at higher temperatures, have increased creep and corrosion resistance, be stronger, be lighter, and be re-cycled more easily.

Considering that only a small number of all the possible combinations of elements are well known and used in engineering, the development of new and rapid methods for the optimisation and discovery of new alloy formulations has been identified as one of the most important research aspects in metallurgy which can address the grand global challenges.


Working as part of a team in the newly established A4B Materials Advanced Characterisation Centre (MACH1), the objective of this PhD will be to look at alloy systems using laboratory synthesis of samples, testing and computational modelling. Different sample preparation routes will be looked at including powder metallurgy, compaction and induction melting. Starting with known alloys, a number of different alloy systems and applications will be examined in a high throughput manner to establish links between microstructure, thermomechanical properties and processing routes. The research will culminate in the identification of optimal, and hopefully, the discovery of new systems.

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Industry and partners:

The work is of interest to the European Space Agency, who will be the primary industrial partner. However, as the project progresses there will a significant level of interaction with other industrial partners, depending on the alloy systems being examined at the time. This is an ideal opportunity for a motivated and practical person to get a broad training in a specialised area, important from both an academic and industrial perspective, and exposure to the very companies who employ people with these skills.

This project will offer the successful candidate opportunities to work in collaboration with other universities, including the batteries supergen group at Sheffield, advisory bodies such as the Energy Technologies Institute and with large companies including Tata, Vale and BASF, gaining valuable industrial experience and building up a strong network of contacts.

Candidate eligibility:

This project is open to graduates with a 1st or 2:1 and a master’s level qualification in engineering (with a strong metallurgical emphasis) or materials science. 

Due to funding restrictions please see the EPSRC website for full residency eligibility criteria: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/Pages/eligibility.aspx

Studentship value:

This award covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £13,726 p.a.

Further information:

Please contact Dr Nick Lavery (n.p.lavery@swansea.ac.uk)

Application closing date:  

The application closing date is 1st November 2013.

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