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Fully Funded EPSRC iCASE & Tata Steel PhD Scholarship: Next Generation Insulation Materials for Use Within the Building Envelope

Swansea University - Materials Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £18,622
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th December 2023
Closes: 28th February 2024

Funding providers: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) iCASE and Tata Steel Building Systems

Subject areas: Engineering, materials science, chemistry

Project start date: 

  • 1 April 2024 (Enrolment open from mid–March)
  • 1 July 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-June)
  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Project description: 

Building insulation is key to addressing climate change and delivering decarbonisation. The former because, in cold climates, we need to keep heat inside buildings to minimise energy usage and, in warmer climates, we need to keep heat out to minimise air conditioning requirements. At the same time, fire tragedies show the essential need for safe, fire resistant cladding materials.

In collaboration with Tata Steel Building Systems UK, this iCASE PhD seeks to develop new lightweight, highly insulating, limited combustibility materials for use in sandwich panels for building façade systems in the construction sector. The aim is to develop limited combustibility insulating panels that have the potential to drive a market shift away from traditional insulation types. Furthermore, the plan is to use waste industrial by-products as raw materials and to deliver products which are fully recyclable at the end of panel life. As such, the new insulation materials will reduce embedded carbon compared to fossil-fuel based organic insulation materials, enhance steel panel system sustainability and ensure that there is no requirement for panel landfilling following building deconstruction.

It is envisaged that the new insulation material will be made up predominantly of inorganic, industrial waste by-products, with the individual particles being held in an organic network that also bonds reversibly to the metal skin of the panel. Advanced imaging and analysis facilities, generating chemical, structural, thermal and fire performance information, will be utilised to support the development. Hence, this exciting project will utilise novel chemistries to create a new insulation material that will underpin a step-change transition in the sustainability of high performance steel sandwich panel products.

Eligibility

Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements. Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

Please visit our website for more information on eligibility.

Funding Details

This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24) plus an additional set payment of £1,500 per year.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

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