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PhD Studentship: Opportunity in Understanding and enhancing the mechanical performance of bioinspired dental composite

University of Surrey - Centre for Biomedical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Guildford
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax-free stipend of approximately £14,777 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 27th February 2019
Closes: 31st May 2019

Studentship description

Driven by the rising ageing population in the UK who suffer from oral disease and need dental treatment, there has been a growing demand for reliable dental restorative products (e.g. dental crowns) with significantly improved mechanical properties and longevity. Inspired by the natural tooth enamel with graded microstructure and extraordinary resistance to fracture, the primary focus of this project is to understand and enhance the mechanical performance of novel dental composites with bioinspired functionally graded and textured microstructures. We will provide a fundamental understanding of the role of bioinspired microstructural features that are important in determining the mechanical properties. We will do so using the advanced mechanical microscopy techniques and incorporating the characterised results into micromechanical numerical modelling. Our aim is to calibrate the model against the mechanical performance at macroscale and explore how the properties can be enhanced by microstructural optimisation. This will allow us to provide new insights into addressing the longevity challenge of dental restorative products.

The PhD candidate will need to engage actively with all the project partners. The main duty of the PhD candidate is to develop an experimentally-validated micromechanics model to predict the deformation and fracture process of zirconia-based and alumina-based bioinspired composite. The PhD candidate will also engage in advanced experimental mechanical microscopy techniques, high performance computing (HPC) cluster available at the University of Surrey as well as the UK’s word-leading synchrotron X-ray large-scale facilities.

The project will commence on the 1st October 2019 and will finish on the 30th September 2022

Entry requirements

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least an Upper Second Bachelor’s degree, and preferably a Master’s degree, in an appropriate discipline (e.g. engineering, material sciences, physics, chemistry, biology or related subject).

If English is not the first language, IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) is required, with no sub-test score less than 6.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax-free stipend of approximately £14,777 p.a., in line with standard RCUK stipend levels [2018-2019]. Studentships are open to overseas students provided they can support the difference between home and overseas fees (£16,540 p.a.)

How to apply

Applications should be made through the University portal via our program page. Please state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Application enquiries

Dr Tan Sui, +44 (0) 1483 68 9670

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