PhD Studentship Wet Adhesive Poro-Viscoelastic Contact along Human Skin Surface

Ref: EngSci-USMC-101

Research group: National Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Deadline: Applications will be accepted at any time until the position is filled.

Skin, the largest organ of the human body, acts as a multi-functional biophysical interface to the external environment. The serial interfacial phenomena along the skin/environment conjunction, particularly when interacting with cosmetic and consumer goods (e.g. razor and shave preparation) is determined by the interplay between the chemical structure and arrangement of stratum corneum lipids, environmental factors (e.g. hydration level) and also the physical characteristics of skin surface relief. Therefore, the chemical and biophysical properties of the stratum corneum need to be considered jointly to approach the complexity of skin tribo-physics. These technical challenges present outstanding opportunities for high quality and high impact research, which have already attracted the attention of world-leading companies such as Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal to invest at the University of Southampton, UK.

The project aims to develop a finite deformation wet adhesion poro-viscoelastic contact model for soft materials that will account for the skin’s environment-dependent structural and material properties (e.g. the hydration level or the degree of absorption of lipids from moisturizers into the stratum corneum). The multi-physics modelling-based framework can be applied to understand skin tribology together with certain mechanisms of the skin barrier function and are highly relevant for pharmaceutical, cosmetic and personal skin care products.

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The candidate must be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person who holds or expects to obtain an upper second or first class degree in Biomedical, Mechanical Engineering, Material Science, Physics or a related field. The successful candidate has the option to be based in the national Centre of Advanced Tribology (nCATS) at University of Southampton, UK for ONE year before moving to University of Southampton Malaysia Campus (USMC) or vice versa. Throughout the PhD duration, the candidate will also have the opportunity to collaborate with nCATS’ industrial partners.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr William W.F. Chong, national Centre of Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS), University of Southampton, UK (Based in University of Southampton Malaysia Campus, Johor, Malaysia) Email:, Tel: +6075602465.

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