PhD Studentship: High performance polymers for long-term application in a demanding environment – developing an understanding of relationship between structure, property and performance

The University of Manchester - School of Chemistry


Principal Supervisor: Prof. Mike Turner

Co-supervisor:  Dr Bernadette Craster

Anticipated start date for project: 18/09/2017

Closing date for applications: 09/12/2016

Project Description

High performance thermoplastic and thermoset polymers such as polyaryletherketones and polybismaleimides are employed in some of the most hostile environments found in the aerospace, automotive and energy industries. Given the move to reduce weight, improve fuel efficiency, extend lifetime and extract hydrocarbons from ever greater depths dramatic improvements in the performance of these materials are essential.

This EPSRC CASE PhD award between the University of Manchester and TWI Ltd aims to develop a better understanding of the degradation mechanisms in these polymers to enable the design of improved materials that open up new opportunities across many industries.

The project will involve synthesis and characterisation of polymers using a wide range of analytical techniques at the Organic Materials Innovation Centre (OMIC), University of Manchester. The polymers will be exposed to a variety of hostile environments (e.g. high T, water, hydrogen sulphide) at TWI. Extensive analysis of degraded samples will provide an in-depth understanding of degradation and morphologic alteration in these materials. This understanding will be used to design improved chemical structures that are fit for purpose.

The project will be co-supervised by Prof. Michael Turner (School of Chemistry, University of Manchester), and Dr. Bernadette Craster (Consultant-Polymer Materials, TWI Ltd, Cambridge, UK).

About OMIC
OMIC is a University Innovation Centre for the specialty organic materials and polymer industries, and is bridging the gap between the knowledge which Universities generate and that which businesses need in order to innovate and grow. In Manchester the student will interact strongly with other researchers across the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Manchester, as well as benefitting from the expertise and facilities available at TWI.

About TWI
NSIRC is a postgraduate engineering research centre founded and managed by TWI. The objective of NSIRC is to conduct industry-led research for its global industrial partners working closely with leading universities in the UK.


Applicants should have or expect a good (I or II(i)) honours degree in Chemistry or Materials Science. He or she should have the skills required for polymer synthesis with a strong interest in the application of advanced analytical methods.


EPSRC-supported CASE award: The studentship is funded for 42 months and will provide fees and maintenance at RCUK level. Research in the first year of the project will be performed at the University of Manchester, in the remaining 30 months the candidate will be located at TWI Ltd, Cambridge. Due to funding regulations, application is restricted to UK nationals or EU students.

Contact for further Information

For more details contact Professor Michael Turner ( or Dr Bernadette Craster ( You must complete an online application using the Apply button below.

How to apply

Complete an online application form using the following web link

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