PhD Studentship: Tribology of Thermal Sprayed Nanocomposite Coatings for Ultra-low-wear in Aero-engines

University of Nottingham - Mechanical Materials & Manufacturing Engineering

Location: University Park

Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates for a fully funded PhD studentship within the top-rated Materials Engineering Research Group (www.nottingham.ac.uk/CME) in the UK. In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) the Faculty of Engineering at Nottingham ranked 3rd in the General Engineering Panel, with 89% of its research output classified as world leading or internationally excellent in quality.

This project is funded by the Rolls-Royce through an industrial CASE funding programme. The student will have the opportunity to spend part of the PhD at the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby.

The PhD Project

The aim of this project is to develop thermally sprayed nanocomposite coatings through incorporating reinforcement materials (e.g., graphene) into ceramic and cermet (ceramic + metallic) matrices via liquid feedstock based Suspension and Solution Precursor (SSP) thermal spray. Wear of various rotating, sliding and vibrating parts in aero engines is a major issue that requires frequent overhauls which wastes valuable time and resources. Aero engines operate at the harshest conditions with frequent thermal and mechanical cycling in extreme temperature differentials. Current coatings in the aero engines have a shorter lifetime and hence, there is a research need to identify and develop the materials and processes for the next generation of ultra-low-wear coatings.

Thermal spraying is a widely used family of coating manufacturing technique. SSP thermal spraying is an emerging technology, which utilises liquid feedstock containing nanoparticles or precursor solutions. The liquid is directly injected into the flame and the particles are accelerated and heated in the spray plume to form a coating. 

The project will develop nanocomposite coatings of WC-CoCr and Al2O3 with 2D materials through SSP thermal spray. The PhD student will study the processing-microstructure-properties relationships of these coatings through scanning and transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction techniques. He/ she will also evaluate the wear and friction characteristics of these coatings through unlubricated wear testing.

Qualification:

The student must have at least the equivalent of a UK 1st or 2.1 class degree in materials engineering, mechanical engineering and/or manufacturing engineering. Applications are also welcome from graduates with a physics or chemistry degree. The student must be proficient in both written and spoken English, possessing excellent presentation and communication skills. This is an experimental research project and the student must be proficient at practical laboratory work. This studentship is only available to Home /EU candidates. International students will not be eligible for this project.  

Funding:

The PhD studentship will cover full university tuition fees and a tax-free stipend up to £18k per annum for the 4 year duration of the project. The studentship is expected to start in October 2017.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Tanvir Hussain (tanvir.hussain@nottingham.ac.uk)

Applications, with a detailed CV and a cover letter, together with the names and addresses of two referees, should be sent directly to Dr. Tanvir Hussain (tanvir.hussain@nottingham.ac.uk). 

Closing date: Until Filled

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Midlands of England