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PhD Scholarships

London South Bank University - School of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: 3-year studentships of ~£15,000 per annum living stipend (tax free)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th January 2022
Closes: 1st March 2022

The School of Engineering at London South Bank University is an ambitious and progressive centre of research strength, ranked 25th nationally for research power in the last Research Excellence Framework. We have a fabulous central London location and are looking for talented potential students interested in research to work with our academic faculty in areas of strength. We are offering a number of funded PhD scholarships below. These studentships are available to UK nationals & EU citizens and overseas applicants*. Those in possession of their own funding (e.g. via a non-EU government scholarship) are also welcome to apply for a place of study.

PhD Scholarships in:

1) PhD project for International students to develop atomic model of lubricated contact loading processes

2) PhD project for International student to develop multiscale simulation algorithm of nanometric cutting process

3) PhD project for International student for Therapeutic use of nanoparticles for cancer diagnosis and treatment

4) PhD project for International student to fabricate nature-inspired nanostructures using sequential tool processing and nanoscratching

5) PhD project for international student to monitor and diagnose thermal spray process and use robotic programming codes to correct the process anomalies

6) PhD project for International student to create functional coatings in thermal spray using recycled waste

Further details on each PhD project as well as application information are provided via this link but all PhD scholarships benefit from the following:

  • Training in advanced engineering topics
  • Mentoring from industry on the application and context of research
  • Bespoke technical training
  • Enterprise and innovation skills training
  • Transferable skills development opportunities to increase employability
  • 3-year studentships of ~£15,000 per annum living stipend (tax free)
  • Payment of all tuition fees*
  • A school supported consumables and travel budget to support additional specialist research training courses, access to specialist equipment and travel to international conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Industry sponsored* cutting-edge research projects
  • Wide choice of PhD projects ranging from applied to blue-sky research
  • State-of-the-art research facilities in the centre of London
  • Opportunities for overseas secondments to industrial partners and universities
  • Excellent career prospects on completion of the PhD

* for eligible students only

LSBU Research Centres Website: http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/research/centres-groups, please click on the link here to see the specific PhD posts available.

Closing date for applications:  March 2022       PhD Start: May 2022

PROJECT #1

PhD project for International student to develop atomic model of lubricated contact loading processes

Project description:

Lubricant plays an important role in influencing how friction is manifested during any contact loading process, including, cutting, milling, indentation, impact or drilling. For this reason, coolant during machining has been used for many centuries as it provides an important property of being a heat carrier to take the heat away from the cutting zone where heat is generated during plastic deformation of the workpiece material as it is sheared by the tool.

It has been known by now that even at smaller length scales, such as during diamond machining or nanoscratching by an atomic force microscope, coolants play an important role. It was reported earlier that a water based coolant is particularly favourable to the diamond over an oil based coolant (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wear.2006.05.022). Consequently, efforts in this direction have started to gain momentum particularly using computational modelling efforts. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtchem.2020.100356). While many aspects of ductile plasticity of silicon and diamond have now started to become clearer (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.2.083601), these efforts need more attention in light of the recent discoveries. One such discovery has been that the water lubricated diamond surfaces (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.096101) rubbing together showed newer regimes of friction. It was reported that while water starvation causes amorphization of the tribological interface, small traces of water are sufficient to preserve crystallinity. More efforts are required to understand how these fundamental discoveries can be translated to scalable computation models and to derive commercial benefits. The project will make use of softwares such as LAMMPS, OVITO and LIGGGHTS to develop scalable computer models of lubricated contact mode processes using the UK’s most powerful supercomputer ARCHER2. The main focus will be to link the simulations with the experiments performed on a state-of-the-art nanotribology instrument tooling industry.

This PhD project aims to continue these global efforts to unravel the unknown science of lubricated contact loading processes. Taking examples of nanoindentation and nanoscratching processes, the work will shed fresh insight on the origins of friction during the contact loading process in presence of a lubricant (gas or fluid) with a particular focus on identifying the ultra-low friction regimes to concatenate these efforts.

Robust modelling techniques combining atomistic and CFD techniques will be developed to predict the influence of coolant during lubricated tribology between two contacting asperities.

Supervisory Team: The successful applicant will be working Dr Saurav Goel at Southwark Campus of LSBU. Dr Goel is Associate Director of the EPSRC Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (https://digitalisedsurfacemanufacturing.com/) run jointly with the University of Manchester.  As part of this project, you will be benefitted from a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Saurav Goel (GoeLs@LSBU.ac.uk).

Requirements: Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and should have (or be expected to gain) either a first class or an upper second-class Honours degree (or the international equivalent), or an MSc/MRes with distinction. Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from all countries with a background in either Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or Mathematics or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills and undertake challenging tasks using their own initiative.

PROJECT #2

PhD project for International student to develop multiscale simulation algorithm of nanometric cutting process

Project Description:

The finite element method (FEM) is used by almost every engineering company to design and manufacture engineering components. The top left image shows an example of how one can study machining process of a component using FEM. One limitation of FEM is it fails at very small length scales. Therefore, FEM cannot be used to analyse various precision manufacturing processes (e.g. polishing of diamond) because material removal takes place at an atomic scale (of the order of a few nanometres) and cannot be simulated using FEM software. Molecular Dynamics (MD) is an alternative analysis method which can simulate behaviour at atomic scale (the middle part of the snapshot) that can capture fine details of material's microstructure. Its issue is that it is not possible to analyse entire components with MD simulation because the process becomes prohibitively expensive. The goal of this project is to overcome these limitations by simultaneously using the two techniques under one umbrella using a multiscale simulation algorithm called as Quasi-continuum (QC) method. This can be done using an open-source software available through this website: http://qcmethod.org/

The rationale of merging or coupling the two scales namely, continuum scale and atomic scale lies in harnessing the fidelity of an engineering analysis without compensating the computational power and hence developing a more robust analysis method. The developed algorithm will be used to study nanoindentation and nanoscratching problems on a wide range of materials and the results will be validated using the newly bought nanoindentor instrument stationing at London South Bank University.

The project will offer various internship and travelling opportunities and immense benefit will occur through direct industrial interactions linked with existing projects with companies like Airbus.

Skills in computational programming and understanding of the mechanics will be critical to this project.

Supervisory Team: The successful applicant will be working Dr Saurav Goel at Southwark Campus of LSBU. Dr Goel is Associate Director of the EPSRC Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (https://digitalisedsurfacemanufacturing.com/) run jointly with the University of Manchester.  As part of this project, you will be benefitted from a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Saurav Goel (GoeLs@LSBU.ac.uk).

Requirements: Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and should have (or be expected to gain) either a first class or an upper second-class Honours degree (or the international equivalent), or an MSc/MRes with distinction. Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from all countries with a background in either Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or Mathematics or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills and undertake challenging tasks using their own initiative.

PROJECT #3

PhD project for international student for Therapeutic use of nanoparticles for cancer diagnosis and treatment

Project Description:

Many diagnoses and treatments methods have evolved in the past for early detection of the abnormalities or defects and their remedies with time to maintain their functions long-lasting. However, cancer (abnormal growth of cells) in any part of the body becomes uncurable if its origins are not well understood in infancy. Therefore, continuous evolution of science has developed new methods to reduce the risk of life by early detection and the precise drug attack to the infected area. Utilisation of natural characteristics of individual atoms or a small group of atoms (nanoparticles) is the paradigm shift in altering the properties of the material and enhancing sensing capability. The project will explore use of metallic/polymeric nanoparticles usage for therapeutic diagnosis and treat of different kinds of abnormalities like different kinds of cancers. Nanoparticles (1-100 nm in size) are 1000 times lesser in size than human cells and endowed with safer relocation capability to attack mechanically and chemically at a precise location. The PhD research through the bi-lateral mobility between India and the UK across Engineering and Biological Centres of Excellence (LSBU and AIIMS Rishikesh), will aim to impart training on the synthesis of nanoparticles and to study their interaction with the cancer cells to make recommendations on how can the use of nanoparticles be accelerated to cure cancer and alike diseases.

Supervisory Team: The successful applicant will be working Dr Saurav Goel at Southwark Campus of LSBU and with a Medical Doctor at AIIMS Rishikesh in India. Dr Goel is Associate Director of the EPSRC Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (https://digitalisedsurfacemanufacturing.com/) which is run jointly with the University of Manchester.  As part of this project, you will be benefitted from a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Saurav Goel (GoeLs@LSBU.ac.uk).

Requirements: Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and should have (or be expected to gain) either a first class or an upper second-class Honours degree (or the international equivalent), or an MSc/MRes with distinction. Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from all countries with a background in either Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or Mathematics or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills and undertake challenging tasks using their own initiative.

PROJECT #4

PhD project for International student to fabricate nature-inspired nanostructures using sequential tool processing and nanoscratching

Project Description:

Recently, a novel cutting strategy using multi-tipped diamond tools and force modulation approach was proposed (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmapro.2021.10.032). By using an atomic force microscope milling experiments combined with purposedly engineered diamond tools using focused ion beam technique, it was shown that it is possible to achieve nanometric control on the milling dimensions and that very fine scale (few nanometers) surface structure can be generated. However, as it is well known the horizontal or vertical range of an AFM is in with few millimetres and while the technique works well, it is limited by the area on which structures can be fabricated.

This PhD project will expand the previously attainable limits on the area for fabrication of the nature-inspired nanostructures using nanoscatching machine. The investigation will demonstrate how can various functionalities available in the nature as reviewed recently here (https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0028844) can be suitable fabricated using nanoscratching contact mode milling technique.

The investigate will proceed in two parts (1) customisation of the diamond tool shape (probe) by creating an inverse mask using focussed ion beam or ion etching technique and (2) using this engineered tool of diamond to fabricate surfaces exhibiting specific functions such as hydrophobicity, oleophobicity, icephobicity and so on.

The project will pay critical attention to understand the challenges in the nanometric control in the form, and topography of the machine surface profiles as well as the wear rates involved as this will potentially also involved understanding of the new nano regimes of surface friction, albeit, under dynamic conditions.

Supervisory Team: The successful applicant will be working Dr Saurav Goel at Southwark Campus of LSBU. Dr Goel is Associate Director of the EPSRC Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (https://digitalisedsurfacemanufacturing.com/) run jointly with the University of Manchester.  As part of this project, you will be benefitted from a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Saurav Goel (GoeLs@LSBU.ac.uk).

Requirements: Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and should have (or be expected to gain) either a first class or an upper second-class Honours degree (or the international equivalent), or an MSc/MRes with distinction. Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from all countries with a background in either Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or Mathematics or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills and undertake challenging tasks using their own initiative.

Project #5

PhD project for international student to monitor and diagnose thermal spray process and use robotic programming codes to correct the process anomalies

Project Description:

Thermal Spray is a known industrial method to coat metal , ceramics , cermets, Polymer impregnated ceramics. Thermal spray process uses temperature and/or velocity of the materials to melt and/or propel the particulate form to impinge and deposit on to the substrate. Gaseous Plasma (Air Plasma Spray ) or enthalpy from combustion of gases (HVOF) or simply inert gas heating  (Cold Gas Spray) is used to energize the particulates towards the substrate. Spray processes have evolved from Manual coating to usage of Standalone Robots over the past few decades. These robots were programmed manually which the robot won’t be able to detect what process the robot is put in to. Technology has evolved for the robot to be cognizant of the process to which it is put in to and strive to correct any process anomalies just like a human would do during the process. This technology will improve quality, eliminate waste of critical raw materials, reduce manufacturing time .

The PhD topic would involve collecting data of thermal spray process such as Plume temperature, Particle velocity and temperature and analysing the data for process deviation. The data would be analysed through MATLAB or python to screen out the background data and produce useful data for further processing. The processed data would then convert to a robot code to correct for robot movement such as spray distance, modifying the glass flow rates or robot speed. these codes will use logic loops to get continuous feedback from the monitoring devices to alter real time robot moves.

The research would not only be enable the student to work on disruptive technologies but get hands on industrial experience to learn robot programming, thermal spray gun processes to be able to find industrial jobs after graduation.

Supervisory Team: The successful applicant will be working Dr Saurav Goel at Southwark Campus of LSBU. Dr Goel is Associate Director of the EPSRC Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (https://digitalisedsurfacemanufacturing.com/) run jointly with the University of Manchester.  As part of this project, you will be benefitted from a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Saurav Goel (GoeLs@LSBU.ac.uk).

Requirements: Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and should have (or be expected to gain) either a first class or an upper second-class Honours degree (or the international equivalent), or an MSc/MRes with distinction. Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from all countries with a background in either Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or Mathematics or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills and undertake challenging tasks using their own initiative.

Project #6

PhD project for International student to create functional coatings in thermal spray using recycled waste

Project Description:

Thermal Spray Coatings use precious elements or critical raw materials to coat and protect the substrates in the field of power generation, aviation, space and military applications.  Metals, Ceramics, Cermets, used in the coating process take precious mined metal and alloys thereby not contributing to the circular economy . Moreover, thermal spray is a process that has 45-55 % deposition efficiency leading to wastage of these raw materials.

There is a immediate need to cut down use of raw materials from mining. Hence, in our endeavour to use recycled feedstock for thermal spray, research on recycle or reuse of thermal spray powders for functional coatings will be quite productive. Zirconia, Yttria, Cobalt, Tungsten, Titania, Chromium carbide, polyesters are some of the ingredients in thermal spray that would need immediate attention towards conservation.

The scope of the research is to identify resources from where we could get recycled powder, convert them in to sprayable morphologies , develop spray parameters, characterize the sprayed coatings for the same functionalites as a non recycled coating. Several functions such as sensors, abdradables , SOFC coatings could be potentially researched with recycled feedstock and the scope of publishing literature in this field is quite immense.

The candidate will work hands on in a lab with industrial infrastructure such as robots, thermal spray equipment which will enable them to prepare for a thermal spray industry or industries that would need robot programming skills.

More insights on how thermal spray can contribute to combat climate change can be read here https://doi.org/10.1007/s42247-021-00307-1

Supervisory Team: The successful applicant will be working Dr Saurav Goel at Southwark Campus of LSBU. Dr Goel is Associate Director of the EPSRC Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (https://digitalisedsurfacemanufacturing.com/) run jointly with the University of Manchester.  As part of this project, you will be benefitted from a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Saurav Goel (GoeLs@LSBU.ac.uk).

Requirements: Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and should have (or be expected to gain) either a first class or an upper second-class Honours degree (or the international equivalent), or an MSc/MRes with distinction. Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from all countries with a background in either Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or Mathematics or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills and undertake challenging tasks using their own initiative.

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