Research Studentship in Measurement and Modelling of Frictional Contact

3-year TSB/Rolls-Royce funded D.Phil studentship, available from October 2013 (subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area

The studentship arises as part of the ‘Siloet II’ research contract involving the Technology Strategy Board, Rolls-Royce plc, and a number of UK universities. The particular workpackage involves the measurement and modelling of frictional contacts, relevant to the design and safe operation of aircraft engines. The work will be supervised by Professors David Hills and David Nowell and will take place within the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre for Solid Mechanics at Oxford.

The objective of the project is to address some of the important issues related to contact & friction, particularly in the context of aircraft engines. The work will have two main parts: the first part will aim at understanding the behaviour at frictional interfaces in order to allow improved modelling. The second part of the work will be aimed at developing improved models for the prediction of interface behaviour, including quantities such as contact stiffness and friction coefficient. There will be significant interaction with Rolls-Royce engineers in validating the models and interpreting them in an industrial context. The work will build on the results of an earlier collaborative project (PAMFJP:

The successful candidate will be a member of the Solid Mechanics and Materials Research Group (of which the UTC is an integral part). Further information on the group can be found at

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Award Value

The EPSRC studentship covers University fees at the level set for UK/EU students plus provides a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £14,200 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two years. The studentship also covers the payment of college fees (c £2500 p.a.).


The EPSRC project studentship is available to all applicants but the University fees are covered only at the UK/EU rate. Therefore due to funding restrictions overseas students would have to provide the difference between the UK/EU and the overseas student rates for University fees from some other source, such as a scholarship or personal funds.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first or upper second class honours degree in Engineering, Physics, or a related subject
  • Good English written and spoken communication skills
  • Excellent record of academic and/or professional achievement

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience of research in tribology or solid mechanics
  • Experience of experiments
  • Experience with finite element stress analysis

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship:

Please quote DN-SILOET in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

Application deadline: 30 June 2013

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