Rolls-Royce Sponsored PhD Studentship in CMAS-resistant Thermal Barrier Coating at University of Nottingham

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Applications are invited for a Rolls-Royce-sponsored PhD studentship at the world-leading Centre for Excellence in Coatings and Surface Engineering (CSE) at the University of Nottingham. This 3 year PhD programme in partnership with Rolls-Royce will address key challenges for the next generation of thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) for aero-engines. 

The PhD Project

TBCs are essential for the smooth operation of the aero-engines and one of the biggest challenges for the next generation of TBCs is CMAS (Calcium-magnesium-aluminum-silicates) which are found in sand and volcanic ash. 

The project is in relation to the technical needs of Rolls-Royce to develop CMAS-resistant next-generation of TBCs. 

The project will focus on an emerging Suspension Plasma Spray (SPS) and Solution Precursor Plasma Spray (SPPS) to deposit the TBCs. The University of Nottingham has installed the UK’s first high-power, three cathodes axial injection suspension thermal spray to produce tailored microstructures for TBC.

We are already working on materials discovery using artificial intelligence for thermal barrier coatings, and this PhD builds on these research/industrial successes. 

The PhD candidate shall focus on materials discovery within an identified material composition space with the high throughput materials discovery apparatus (MDA). Once identified, these new compositions will be manufactured as coatings using SPS/SPPS. The coatings will be examined in SEM/TEM/EBSD and tested for CMAS resistance in burner rig and furnace thermal cycling. 

This is an exciting PhD project that has a combination of academic and industrial challenges which will enhance the student’s ability to tackle complex intellectual and practical aspects of materials discovery, artificial intelligence and materials processing. 


 We are seeking candidates with 

  • A first or upper-second-class degree in materials/mechanical/ manufacturing/aerospace/chemical engineering/ chemistry. 
  • Ability to learn new material deposition techniques. 
  • Background in materials discovery and processing, machine learning and Python/Matlab/Labview.   
  • A driven individual with an inquisitive mind.
  • Ability to produce high-quality presentations and written reports. 


For home students, the PhD studentship will cover full university tuition fees and on top of that a tax-free stipend of up to £20 k per annum. For exceptional international tuition, an equivalent amount of funding will be offered. 

Informal inquiries, with a detailed CV, a cover letter and academic transcripts, should be sent directly to Prof. Tanvir Hussain (ta************@no********.uk).  

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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