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Tribological Challenges of Green Energy Production and Use

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th October 2021
Closes: 31st December 2021

Project title: Tribological Challenges of Green Energy Production and Use

Supervisory Team:    Monica Ratoi, Brian Mellor

Project description

An Industrially Sponsored Project

The reduction of carbon emissions which contribute to climate change requires novel technologies for green energy production and use e.g. wind turbines, hydrogen energy, electric vehicles etc. These raise new challenges for lubricated tribological parts (rolling element bearings, valves etc) which apart from being subjected to high contact pressures, the bearing material needs to resist hydrogen embrittlement and the lubricant must resist degradation. This study will investigate the influence of bearing material composition/type, lubrication and operating conditions on preventing premature failure of bearing steels due to the ingress of atomic hydrogen inadvertently produced at the tribological contact. Although promising materials and classes of lubricants exist, they have not been widely adopted mainly due to the limited methods available to characterise their performance in tribological contacts under specific operating conditions. The proposed research will address these challenges by using novel state-of-the-art methods for investigating rolling contact fatigue, hydrogen embrittlement and the role of bearing materials and lubricants.  By understanding the mechanism of this process and how it is influenced by various factors, an informed selection of materials and lubricants will be a deliverable, thus enabling superior energy savings and enhanced fatigue life for the novel green technologies.

This project, supervised by world-class academic and industrial experts in Materials and Lubricants for green technologies is based at the National Centre of Advanced Tribology UK, University of Southampton and will help you achieve a unique set of skills and expertise to become a world’s leading specialist in the tribology of emerging green technologies. Recent UK government energy updates have emphasized the acute need for this highly specialized training.  This is also an excellent opportunity to publish your research in high impact factor journals.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Monica Ratoi, nCATS Research Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 160.

Entry Requirements

Prospective candidates are required to have a first class or 2:1 degree (if the candidate has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, this applies to both) in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Metallurgy, Material Science or Chemistry

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 December 2021 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisorMonica Ratoi

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact:

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