PhD: High Temperature Composites (supported by Rolls-Royce plc)

University of Bristol - Aerospace Engineering

The project:

An EPSRC Industrial CASE award PhD studentship is available at the University of Bristol in collaboration with Rolls-Royce plc.

This project will investigate advanced thermosetting composites that are designed for continuous, high temperature operation (> 200 °C), allowing increased use of polymer composites in thermally critical applications (e.g. gas turbine engines). The project will focus on cost, processability, mechanical performance and durability at temperature. Novel polymers will be reinforced using carbon fibres to produce advanced composites, in order to examine their thermal and mechanical performance and ease of processing. The mechanisms by which the composites degrade at elevated temperatures will be studied in the Bristol Composites Institute using state of the art equipment. Some familiarity with chemical synthesis is advantageous.

You will work alongside experts in the Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS) at Bristol and receive extensive training in polymer preparation and characterisation, manufacturing and testing of composite materials, and fire testing. You will also work closely with the project industrial partner, Rolls-Royce plc, to help you understand the technical challenges and to enable the results of your research to have a real influence in the aerospace sector.

Further Particulars

The quality of research at the University of Bristol places it within the top five Universities in the UK based on the Research Excellence Framework and Times higher Education rankings 2014-15. The PhD candidate will be a part of a friendly and diverse community, with the Bristol Doctoral College (BDC) as the focal central coordinating facility. Alongside the specialist training the candidate will receive in PhD-specific topics, the BDC offers approximately 200 courses, interactive workshops and seminars as a part of the University’s Personal and Professional Development Programme for PGR students. The BDC organises University-wide events and provides a hub of information, guidance and resources to help researchers to get the most of their time at Bristol.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project at Please select <Aerospace Engineering> on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form with the name of the supervisor.

Candidate requirements: 

We are looking for an enthusiastic student with at least a 2:1 Honours degree in Engineering, Chemistry, Physics or Materials. Candidates should have a strong interest in composite materials.


This 4 year scholarship covers full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to 1st September 2017) PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the current RCUK rate (£14,553 in 2017/18) plus an additional ‘top-up’ by the industrial partner (when all contracts are in place)


For informal enquiries please email Dr. Ian Hamerton,  

For general enquiries, please email

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South West England