PhD Studentship: Multi-Technique Characterisation of The Porous Space of Gilsocarbon Nuclear Graphite.

University of Plymouth

Director of Studies: Dr Giuliano Maurizio Laudone (, tel.: +44 (0)1752 584966)

2nd Supervisor: Dr Natasha Stephen (, tel.: +44 (0)1752 586125)

3rd Supervisor: Professor Peter Matthews (, tel.: +44 (0)1752 584798)

Applications are invited for a three and a half year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on January 1st 2018.

Project Description

Gilsocarbon is a used as structural material and neutron moderator in the UK’s fleet of Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors. The ionising radiation within the reactor and the carbon dioxide used to provide heat exchange cause radiolytic oxidation to take place. Radiolytic oxidation is strongly affected by the presence of carbon dioxide and oxidation inhibitors (such as methane and carbon monoxide) within the porous matrix of Gilsocarbon. The characterisation of this porous matrix and its effect on such properties as gas permeability and diffusivity are therefore of fundamental importance to better understand and predict the ageing of AGRs cores.

The aims of this research project are:

  • to improve the characterisation of the complex pore-level structure of Gilsocarbon graphite and of its evolution under the effect of radiolytic oxidation.
  • to model pore-level fluid dynamics within the void structure of Gilsocarbon.

The porous space of Gilsocarbon will be studied using the multi-technique approach developed during a previous PhD project, with the addition of high-resolution FIB-SEM analysis and reconstruction of the samples. The information derived from mercury porosimetry, gas-adsorption with BET and GCMC modelling, pycnometry, micro-CT scanning and FIB-SEM tomography will be combined to generate a multi-scale representation of the void structure of Gilsocarbon graphite. The pore-level properties and fluid dynamics will be modelled using the PoreXpert pore-network simulation software and the OpenFOAM software.


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.

The studentship is supported for 3.5 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £17,000 per annum.  The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications.  Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,350 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Giuliano Maurizio Laudone ( Applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at Plymouth University is available at:

Please apply via the online application form which can be found at: and click ‘Apply’.

Please mark it FAO Sharon Healy and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Science.  Please attach a covering letter detailing your suitability for the studentship, a CV and 2 academic references.

For more information on the admissions process please contact Sharon Healy (

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 15th October 2017. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview week beginning 30th October 2017. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications.  Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by the 10th November 2017 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



South West England