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PhD Studentship: Two EPSRC iCASE studentships in Elastomer Composites

Queen Mary University of London - School of Engineering and Materials Science

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £20,000 for 2020/21
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 21st May 2020
Closes: 21st August 2020

Two EPSRC iCASE funded PhD studentship opportunities have arisen based in the Soft Matter Group in the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London. The projects collaborate with Schlumberger, the world’s leading supplier of technology, integrated project management and information solutions to the energy industry. Both projects suit graduates from a chemistry, chemical engineering, engineering or materials science background. The project will comprise experimental studies at QMUL (supervised by Prof. James Busfield) and the Schlumberger Cambridge Research facility (supervised by Dr Julien Ramier). 

Project 1 Details (Reference JJCB1)

Development of nanostructured reinforcing fillers to enhance physical and mechanical properties of elastomeric composites 

This PhD project will to develop novel elastomer composites for use in tools used in oil and gas and geothermal drilling operations. Elastomers are used as dynamic and static seals which are subjected to very large strains and rapid cyclical loading under extreme environments. Elastomers have to operate in extreme conditions that include high temperature and pressure regimes as well as encountering constant exposure to aggressive chemical environments. This project plans to identify and characterise suitable nano-reinforcement systems and establish the link between the reinforcing material morphology and the mechanical and physical properties of the resulting composite materials. 


Project 2 Details (Reference JJCB2)

Development of predictive lifetime models for elastomer composites 

The PhD project will develop predictive lifetime models for elastomer composites used in drilling tools for the oil and gas industry as well as tools used in geothermal drilling operations. Elastomers are used as dynamic and static seals which are subjected to very large strains and rapid cyclical loading under extreme environments. Improving the performance of these components requires a detailed understanding of the relevant behaviour that occurs under representative operational conditions. This will enable us to both accurately predict operational lifetime and additionally provide an input into the design of new sealing technologies. Changes in the mechanical properties of elastomers will be characterised experimentally, fitted to new and emerging constitutive models and implemented in numerical simulations to build accurate models. 

EPSRC Research Studentship Details

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) applicants must have: 

  • Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay and been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to April 2021.
  • This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences and not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education (This does not apply to UK nationals). (See: for more details)
  • Full Time programme only
  • Applicant required to start in April 2021
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to four years (currently set as £20,000 for 2020/21).
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking). 

Supervisor Contact Details:

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Prof James Busfield

Tel: 020 7882 8866


Application Method:

To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Materials Science programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage: 

Research degrees in Materials: 

Further Guidance: 

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2020 SEMS EPSRC CASE JJCB (1 or 2, as indicated above) to associate your application with either studentship opportunity. 

Deadline for applications: 21st August 2020 

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