PhD Studentship: Novel Carbon Reinforced Carbide Ceramic Composites for Extreme Environments

University of Exeter - College of Engineering, Maths and Physical Sciences

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in January 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,553 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in Engineering in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Academic Supervisors:

Professor Shaowei Zhang, University of Exeter

Professor Yanqiu Zhu, University of Exeter

Project Description:

In recent years, there has been a great interest in developing novel carbon reinforced ultra-high temperature ceramic composites for extreme environments. In this project, several types of ultra-high temperature carbide composites reinforced by different types of carbon (graphene, carbon nanotube and carbon black) will be developed. Graphene, carbon nanotube and carbon black will be coated with carbide by using a low temperature technique developed recently. The powder mixture will be compacted/densified under different conditions by using HIP or SPS. The effects of processing parameters such as carbon type/size/content, coating type/quality and firing temperature/pressure on microstructures and properties of the final composites will be investigated in detail, based on which preparation conditions optimised. Field tests with the support of industries (e.g. armour and aerospace industries) also will be carried out. 

Contact for Informal Enquiries: Professor Shaowei Zhang (Tel: 01392 725276, Email:

The closing date for applications is midnight on 10 November 2017.       

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,553 per year tax-free stipend. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. 

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in January 2018.   

Entry requirements:

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least a 2.1 UK Honours degree, an MSc or equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in materials science/chemistry/physics. 

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

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South West England