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EngD Studentship in Development of a Novel Atmospheric Pressure Plasma System for the Reduction of Water Use

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: Professional Doctorate
Location: Cranfield
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £20,000 (tax free) plus fees* for four years.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th October 2018
Closes: 10th December 2018
Reference: SATM0092

Start date: 07 Jan 2019

Duration of award: 4 years

Cranfield University and Adtec Europe Ltd are seeking a top class candidate to undertake research leading to the award of an International Engineering Doctorate awarded jointly by the Universities of Warwick, Exeter and Cranfield.

As a ‘research engineer’ on our International Doctorate programme you will have unrivalled access to some of the best teaching and industrial expertise in the world, across three universities.  While you will be based at Cranfield University and Adtec Europe Ltd, you will also spend time at Warwick and Exeter Universities to give you the broadest possible experience. You will emerge from the four-year programme more confident and better equipped to make a difference to your future employer and the global marketplace. 

This opportunity also provides a substantial tax free stipend equivalent to many graduate jobs.

The focus of this EngD project is to understand the utilisation of plasma-assisted surface conditioning of low-iron glass solar reflecting mirrors for concentrating solar thermal power applications.

The aim of this project is to investigate the characteristics of a novel atmospheric pressure plasma system used to condition CSP concentrating mirrors which will be capable of reducing the amount of water used in the cleaning process.

There is also a compelling business desire to undertake this project. The development of a novel atmospheric pressure plasma system will be a significant game changer in the CSP market. Such a disruptive technology is anticipated to yield significant commercial benefits.

The project will include the following stages within the overall research methodology:

1) Modelling and simulation of the deposition of sand and dust onto mirror surfaces at a variety of different geographical locations

2) Experimental analysis of sand and dust saltation, erosion, abrasion, and suspension in arid regions within the solar belt (typically within the tropical latitudes).

3) Characterisation of mirror surfaces by interferometry, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray analysis for elemental compositional identification, photogrammetry for shape distortion, reflectometry for specular reflectance, and contact angle measurements to determine surface condition.

4) Investigation of the characteristics to improve the efficiency of a novel atmospheric pressure plasma system for the in situ surface cleaning of mirror surfaces in the presence of water in arid regions.

5) Testing and optimisation of the plasma system for a range of mirror surface types at different CSP locations within the solar belt or at representative test locations within Europe.

Cranfield University supervisors:

Dr Christopher Sansom

Dr Peter King

Adtec Industrial supervisors:

Takuya Urayama

Mary McGovern

Entry requirements:

Candidates should have a minimum of an upper second (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) preferably in Physical Sciences, Materials, or Mechanical Engineering, but candidates with degrees in other Engineering disciplines will be considered.

For further information please contact Dr Christopher Sansom.


T: +44 (0)1234 750111 ext: 2955

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form.

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