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PhD Scholarship - Modelling Gas Turbine Blade Degradation in a High Fidelity Digital Twin

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bedford
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees for four years.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th September 2019
Closes: 15th December 2019
Reference: SWEE0091

Application Deadline 15/12/2019

Start date 3rd Feb 2019 or as soon as possible   

Eligibility: UK & EU only

Duration: 4 years

1st Supervisor: Dr Joy Sumner    2nd Supervisor: Prof Nigel Simms

Sponsored by EPSRC and Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees* for four years.

This PhD research will aid in the technological advancement of gas turbines, by evaluating and building suitable hot corrosion models for implementation in a digital twin of an industrial gas turbine.  Such digital twins are highly complex toolkits, containing models and data specific to particular gas turbines to allow the tailoring of optimal maintenance and lifing procedures dependent upon a gas turbine’s specific history.  These degradation models will constitute a key part of such a digital twin.  You will present your research in peer reviewed journals and at conferences.

Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery is developing digital twins for their gas turbines to improve their performance and to tailor maintenance to a particular gas turbine’s manufacture, operating history and previous repair.  Such digital twins go far beyond conventional record keeping, and involve the development of a toolkit of different models (with partners including Cranfield University and the University of Cambridge).

In your PhD you will evaluate existing models and data on the hot corrosion of key gas turbine components, before proposing improved models for use in digital twins.  Your research will include:

  • Construction of framework models for hot corrosion, dependent on factors such as metal temperature, species present in the combusted gas stream, gas temperature, deposits and materials systems of interest.
  • Determination of expected local deposition rates of corrosive species at different locations around the components.
  • Evaluation of the impact if highly gas turbine-specific factors such as: the effect of air contaminants (which will be location dependent); operator fuel specifications; and, air:fuel ratios.
  • Modelling of the probabilities of metal loss for different materials systems.

Research relating to the model development will be student-led under the guidance of academic and industrial supervisors.  The student will work with a range of other researchers at Cranfield University, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery and beyond.

The project is funded by EPSRC/Siemens, and so will have close ties to industrial companies interested in the application of the technology.  By the end of your PhD, you will be expected to have presented data to review meetings, disseminate your results at international conferences, and to have published papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as materials science/engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, chemistry, or engineering.


To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK national or an EU national with settled status.

How to apply

For further information please contact:           Dr. Joy Sumner,
  (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 2815   

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form by clicking on the apply link above.

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