PhD Studentship: Bulk Metallic Glasses: Revealing the Structural Pathway of Liquid Metals to Vitrification

Cranfield University

Sponsored by EPSRC DTP Research & Innovation Office

The studentship will provide a bursary of up to £19,000 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years

Eligibility*: UK, EU, International

Eligibility for Funding: * To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be UK nationals or EU nationals.

Foreign nationals with “settled status in the UK” (i.e. students with no restrictions regarding how long they can stay and who have been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of their studies) are also eligible for this funding.

Duration of award: 3 years

Application deadline: 31st December 2017 (application process might be closed earlier if a suitable candidate is found)

Starting Date: 1st Feb 2018 (or earlier)

Dr. K. Georgarakis – Senior Lecturer in Low Energy and Novel Casting
Professor M. Jolly – Head of Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Centre

Entry requirements: Applicants should have a minimum of a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent in materials science and engineering, physics or a related discipline. The ideal candidate should have a good understanding of the principles of X-ray diffraction, crystallography, crystalline and amorphous materials.

Candidates with background in materials science and engineering, physics, metallurgy, chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or related disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Project Description:
Bulk Metallic Glasses (BMGs) is an emerging class of Advanced Metallic Materials with amorphous structure, exceptional properties and tremendous potential for high-end applications in a wide variety of industrial fields. This PhD project aims developing the understanding of glass formation in metals and the relation between structure and properties by tracing the structural pathway of liquid metals to vitrification and revealing the structural origin of the remarkable slowdown of the dynamics occurring in the super-cooled liquids that leads to the formation of glasses. How the atomic structure of metallic liquids evolves during rapid quenching is currently not well understood.  This limitation is largely attributed to the experimental times for the acquisition of diffraction data being longer than the short quenching times required for vitrification, and thus hindering in-situ structural measurements. A sophisticated approach will be used to overcome these limitations and study the structure of metallic liquids, super-cooled liquids and glasses using state-of-the-art structural characterization techniques and modelling including high energy synchrotron radiation and containerless solidification methods. The PhD project includes the structural analysis of the liquid, super-cooled liquid and glassy states of glass forming alloys using X-ray Diffraction, pair and radial distribution function and electron microscopy. Molecular Dynamics and Reverse Monte Carlo Simulations will be employed to provide insights of the evolution of the local geometrical atomic arrangements in the liquid and the glassy structures and will be compared with the experimental results.

The outcomes of the project are expected to contribute to a better understanding of the glass formation and glass transition that are among the most intriguing open discussions in materials science. Understanding how and why some alloys become amorphous during rapid quenching while other alloys do not, will provoke significant advances in the manufacturing technologies of amorphous metals and lead to the production of new alloys with better glass forming abilities and enhanced properties opening new horizons in the science and technology of the field.

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