Back to search results

PhD Studentship: Investigation of Combustion Profiles of Alternative Fuels in a Small Displacement Opposed-Piston Engine and Optimisation of Engine Architecture (MELENDI-ESPINAS_U19SCIC)

University of East Anglia - School of Mathematics

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum and £1,000 per annum to support research training.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th October 2018
Closes: 26th November 2018

Start date: 1/10/2019

Supervisor Dr Sonia Melendi-Espina

Project description

Applications are invited to the Engineering Division at the School of Mathematics, UEA, for a PhD in the field of internal combustion engines.

Internal combustion engines have continually evolved since their inception, and aided by advanced computational simulations, engine technology has improved dramatically within the last few years.  Due to increasing environmental concerns, particularly greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, it is vital that internal combustion engines, a pillar of modern society, continue to improve.

However, limitations to the typical four-cycle, poppet-valve engine architecture(s) exist, such as pumping losses during scavenging, and large thermal losses associated with the large surface area of the cylinders in comparison to their volume. Fortunately, opposed-piston, two-cycle engines offer several advantages. These include lower pumping losses due to the absence of a valve train, and lower thermal losses due to the higher stroke-to-bore ratio and lack of a cylinder head [1, 2, 3].

This inherent environmental benefit could be further improved by replacing the use of conventional fossil fuels with various sustainable, renewable fuels, such as bio-methane, bio-ethanol, bio-butanol etc. [4, 5]. Although promising research into multi-cylinder engines of this type exists, less is understood about the combustion of different fuels in a smaller displacement, opposed-piston engines.

Consequently, the aim of this PhD project is to understand the combustion characteristics of different fuels, with a focus on renewable fuels, when used in a small opposed-piston engine.  With this knowledge, optimisation of the engine architecture to increase thermal efficiency and, therefore, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be investigated.

Applicants should hold or be completing an undergraduate honours degree with a 1st or a 2.1 classification. Degrees in Energy Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and other related disciplines will be considered.


[1] Naik, S., et al. Practical Applications of Opposed-Piston Engine Technology to Reduce Fuel Consumption and Emissions. SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-2754 (2013) doi:10.4271/2013-01-2754.

[2] Sharma, A. and Redon, F. Multi-Cylinder Opposed-Piston Engine Results on Transient Test Cycle. SAE Technical Paper 2016-01-1019 (2016) doi:10.4271/2016-01-1019.

[3] Hanson, R. et al. Progress in Light-Duty OPGCI Engine Design and Testing. Available at: Accessed 12/09/2018

[4] Kalghatgi, G. Is it really the end of internal combustion engines and petroleum in transport?. Applied Energy 225 (2018) 965-974.

[5] Bae, C. Kim, J. Alternative fuels for internal combustion engines. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 36 (2017) 3389-3413.

Person Specification Minimum entry requirement is UK 2:1. First degree in Energy Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Funding notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Science competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,777 and £1,000 per annum to support research training.  Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (which for 2018-19 are detailed on the University’s fees pages at Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual increase).

N.B. Early application is encouraged

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:

Subject Area(s):


PhD tools
More PhDs from University of East Anglia

Show all PhDs for this organisation …

More PhDs like this
Join in and follow us

Browser Upgrade Recommended has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge