Research Studentship in Experimentation and Modelling of Wear

University of Oxford

3 year D.Phil studentship, available from January 2017 (subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area
The studentship is part of a project entitled “The development of a Wear Law” being jointly undertaken by the Universities of Oxford and Nottingham, funded by Rolls-Royce Plc. The studentship will start in January 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Being able to predict the development of damage (fretting wear and fretting fatigue) in highly loaded contacts is essential for design and lifing of components. Current models use the finite element method and a time-marching approach allows that allows the effects of prior wear on its subsequent development to be simulated. However, a model of this kind requires a sophisticated ‘wear law’ which takes into account the effects of the numerous parameters which can affect the development of damage. At present, there is no universal law for the wear process, and there is a need for a relatively simple but widely applicable law that could be used to gain reliable estimates of component performance and life.  

The objective of the project is to develop an extended simple wear law using:

(1) Macroscopic wear tests to establish the conditions in which a simple wear law can be applied. 

(2) Mechanics models to extract local contact and wear information from macroscopic data. 

(3) Novel test procedures to examine the microscopic process of wear.

The project student will focus on experimental measurements of the wear process, and the development/implementation of wear models. He or she will be a member of the Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering Research Group in the Department of Engineering Science and will be supervised by Profs John Huber and David Hills.  Further information on the group can be found at

Award Value
The studentship covers University and College fees at the level set for UK students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £15,000 per year.

This studentship is available to UK/EU nationals or may provide partial funding support to non-UK/EU nationals.

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

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics, or a related field;
  • Experience in laboratory experimentation, with a preference for mechanical testing of materials;
  • Knowledge or experience of modelling in mechanics of materials;
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills;

 The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Data analysis using Matlab;
  • Computer simulation of mechanical or materials systems, particularly finite element analysis .

Application Procedure
To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees

NOTE: Candidates are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria available at and a full graduate application must be made at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Your studentship application will not be considered until you have submitted a graduate application too. Further details about making a graduate application are available at

Please quote RR_JEH in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Application deadline:  Noon on 28th October 2016

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