PhD Studentship Drilling, repairability and nano-sized particles emission from polymer nanocomposites for lightweight structural applications

Funded by European Commission ELife+ Programme and Robert Gordon University offers this PhD studentship with up to £15,000 available p.a. with UK/EU fees included

Closing Date: 31 August 2013

Reference: ENG13

UK and EU applicants only.

Robert Gordon University, through School of Engineering and the IDEAS Research Institute, is offering a PhD studentship funded by European Commission E-Life+ Programme and the Institute for Innovation, Design & Sustainability (IDEAS).

Polymer nanocomposites make use of properties unique to the nanoscale form of materials. This allows potential to develop significant enhancements of material properties compared to the pure polymers. However, recent studies have shown that nanoparticles get released from polymer-matrix during the functional life cycle of polymer products. This leads to concerns on the emissions, exposure and the structural integrity which is affected due to nanorelease mechanisms.  Further, the physicochemical changes that nanoparticles undergo by integration into a polymeric-matrix, and during the whole life cycle of the products are not well known.

The PhD study will focus on the drilling, repair and emission of free nanofiller as ultrafinene airborne particles during selected composites life time. Physical and chemical parameters including crystalline structure, surface reactivity, surface composition and purity will be studied.

This project will specifically consider the property-structure relationship of the fibre reinforced nano-composites and involve both drilling processes and repairability. The study will employ drilling techniques on composites and damage analysis. In order to understand the exposure mechanism during different mechanical processes, air­borne and deposited particles will be systematically characterised.

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Please see further information available at

Applicants should Apply Online via the ‘Apply’ button below, or through the further information link above. When applying, please click on advertised studentships and select ENG13. Your application should include an outline research proposal of approximately 500 words.

Deadline for receipt of applications is ASAP.

It is expected that candidates are available to register and commence study in October 2013.

Questions should initially be addressed to:

Dr James Njuguna
Reader in Composite Materials & Structures
Institute for Innovation, Design & Sustainability
School of Engineering
Robert Gordon University
Riverside East, Garthdee Campus
Aberdeen, AB10 7GJ
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0) 122 426 2327


Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a First or Second Class UK honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline such Mechanical Engineering, Polymer Technology, Nanotechnology or Materials Science. An MSc in a relevant subject is highly desirable. Knowledge or experience of polymer composites is advantageous.

Applicants are eligible for a studentship payment of up to £15,000 p.a. for the duration of the 3 year award dependent upon qualifications and experience. This studentship will cover the tuition fees for qualified UK/EU students only. 

Keywords: Polymer nano-composites, structural nano-composites, Materials engineering, Lightweight Materials and Structures, characterisation, composites.

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