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Fully-funded (Home/EU Rate) PhD Studentship (Fixed-term)

University of Cambridge - Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cambridge, Oxford
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th February 2020
Closes: 31st March 2020
Reference: LJ22456

Funding: Diamond/ISIS Pulsed Neutron Spallation Source/EPSRC

Supervisors: Dr Howard Stone from University of Cambridge, Dr Leigh Connor from Diamond Light Source Ltd and Dr Joe Kelleher from ISIS Neutron Muon Source

This project will be run jointly between the University of Cambridge and Diamond Light Source, co-located between the two sites, with years 1 and 4 in Cambridge, and years 2 and 3 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory site in Oxfordshire

The gas turbine industry is actively seeking to improve efficiency and thereby reduce emissions from civil aviation.  One of the key methods by which this can be achieved is through increasing the gas stream temperature as this enables improved thermodynamic efficiencies.  However, further temperature increases are limited by the conditions that can be tolerated by the nickel-based superalloys used for key components. Among such components, the latest gas turbine engines utilise fourth generation superalloys for turbine blades.  These alloys contain high concentrations of refractory and platinum group elements to achieve the properties required in service and are fabricated as single crystals.  However, recent issues with these alloys in service have motivated a desire to develop an improved understanding of these newest alloys for their reliable use. 

In this project, you will use a combination of in situ neutron and synchrotron X-ray diffraction to study the stresses that exist between the two main constituent phases in the newest single crystal superalloys, and how these evolve during mechanical testing.  These studies will require development of appropriate methodologies for the manipulation of single crystals and effective interrogation of the data acquired.  You will also perform microstructural characterisation of the alloys using electron microscopy (scanning and transmission) to study the microstructural features and dislocation structures that develop during testing.

This studentship provides an opportunity to develop new synchrotron and neutron facility capabilities and apply them to scientifically challenging research topics and and an environment in which to form research networks outside the immediate supervisory team.  Two other studentships will run simultaneously with this one under the same arrangements.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available up to 4 years in the first instance.

Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper second or first class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents) and should meet the EPSRC criteria for UK/EU residency and liability for 'home rate' fees.  The on-line application system is available at Further information on the application process is available from Rosie Ward (

Informal enquiries about this studentship can be made to Dr Howard Stone,

Please quote reference LJ22456 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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