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Fully Funded (Home/EU Rate) PhD Studentship (Fixed Term) - Toughening Non-metallic Materials by Inhomogeneous Elasticity

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3.5 years in the first instance.

EPSRC Industrial CASE award supported by Rolls-Royce plc Supervisor: Professor Bill Clegg

Aerospace materials has been identified by EPSRC as one of their eight great technologies. High temperature materials must be both oxidation resistant and tough. Generally the materials developed, such as Mo and Nb silicides possess insufficient oxidation resistance, so coatings are required, giving a lack of reliability, should the coating break. Greater reliability would be achieved by controlling plasticity.

Recently, we have shown using density functional theory, that if a crystal's unit cell elastically deforms in an inhomogeneous manner, the yield stress can be very greatly reduced. It has been shown that this is consistent with observations in a wide range of layered materials.

We have also demonstrated how electron density in the unit cell may be moved around a unit cell. The aim of this project is to understand the limits of this behaviour and the structures that are likely to lead to softer materials with higher toughness, as well as explore how the other properties may be controlled, including the development of completely new strategies for controlling strength.

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) in a relevant science subject (Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science) and should meet the EPSRC criteria for UK/EU residency and liability for 'home rate' fees (<>) to be eligible for a studentship.

Applications can be made on-line via

Further information on the application process is available from Dr Rosie Ward (

Informal enquiries may be made to Professor Bill Clegg by email on

Please quote reference LJ11800 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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