PhD - Flash Sintering of Non-Oxide Ceramics for Armour

University of Oxford

R I Todd, R Livesey (Dstl)

The most effective armour systems for military personnel rely on plates of non-oxide ceramics such as SiC to defeat incoming projectiles. These ceramics are expensive and difficult to produce because temperatures of ~2000 °C, often with the simultaneous application of pressure, are needed to densify them. We have recently shown, however, that SiC can be densified without pressure at furnace temperatures less than 1200 °C in just a few seconds in a new process known as "flash sintering" in which an electric field is applied to the ceramic during sintering. The aim of this project is to understand the mechanisms responsible for these remarkable improvements and hence to establish the advantages in cost, ballistic performance and manufacturing versatility for armour manufacture. The research will involve ceramic processing, microstructural characterisation and mechanical and ballistic testing.

This is a 4-year EPSRC Industrial CASE Studentship in conjunction with Dstl. Part of the time will be spent at Dstl's facilities. The project is only open to UK nationals.

Candidates are considered in the January 2017 admissions cycle which has an application deadline of 20 January 2017.

Subject to contract this project will be supported by a 4-year Industrial CASE Studentship sponsored by Dstl and the EPSRC. This studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student who has home fee status and the stipend will be at least £16,296 per year.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Professor Richard Todd ( General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e‑mail to You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies. Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at

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South East England