PhD Studentship in Mechanical Engineering

University of Strathclyde - Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Synthesis and Parametric study of Self-healing Rubber

The Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering is seeking an outstanding and committed graduate to undertake research leading to the award of a PhD from the University of Strathclyde.
Development of novel self-healing materials is an important technological area in the UK. These materials offer attractive material performance in erosion resistance, structural integrity, and surface protection. Research associated with these materials has an excellent fit to the University strategic themes in energy, advanced manufacturing and materials, and health and wellbeing. A typical self-healing material is characterised by its ability to recover from damage. By carefully tailoring healing mechanisms during material synthesis, the physiochemical properties of the final material can be manipulated for a specific application. At Strathclyde, we are developing abrasion-resistant self-healing rubber for progressing equipment. Current natural rubber lining has a short life-span under aggressive progressing condition. This leads to high maintenance cost and potential damage to the processing equipment. Over the past decades, extensive R&D effort can be seen on improving fundamental understanding of material wear as well as developing more abrasive-resistant materials. Much of it has been focused on the attempt of making the materials more wear resistant in a passive manner. More recently, a relatively more proactive approach has been attracting increasing attention through bio-inspired self-healing processes. This approach to the repair of structures is inspired by that of living organisms. The development of self-healing rubber for this application will be a ‘game-changer’.

The aim of this project is to 1)Investigate abrasion mechanisms in rubber; 2) Develop a novel synthesis route to manufacturing a abrasion-resistant self-healing rubber 3) Establish processing-structure-property relationship in self-healing rubber through a parametric study. 4) Optimise the self-healing efficiency and trial the synthesised material in the processing equipment; 5) disseminate the outputs to relevant research community and industrial partners.

Your academic supervisors will be Dr Liu Yang ( of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department and Dr John Liggat ( of the Pure and Applied Chemistry Department. The research team at Strathclyde ( is internationally recognised for research in this area and the successful applicant will be encouraged to collaborate with team members and industrial partners (

Entry requirements: Students applying should normally have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant materials science, chemistry, or chemical engineering subject, and be highly motivated to undertake cutting-edge research in this field. Candidates with a background in rubber synthesis and development are strongly encouraged to apply. Experience with self-healing materials is desirable though not essential.

The studentship: This 3.5-year PhD studentship will cover Home/EU fees and a tax-free maintenance grant of a minimum of £15,500 per annum. The studentship is also open to overseas students.
If you wish to apply please email a covering letter, full Curriculum Vitae and the names and contact details of at least two academic referees to BOTH Dr Liu Yang and Dr John Liggat

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