Brittleness limits the design and lifetime of some polymeric, metallic, and almost all ceramic materials in both structural and functional engineering applications, from the design of plane engine turbine blades to the newest solid-state electrolyte in batteries. This brittleness is intrinsically present in material composition that cannot plastically deform and make them sensitive to any defect introduced during their fabrication or usage.

Metamaterial, by definition, uses architecturation to overcome intrinsic material limitation. Among all the possible architectures we could invent, a structure with interlocking elements is predicted to be the most capable of making tough samples from brittle composition. Interlocking mechanism is in theory extremely effective at diffusing damages because it allows elements to slide but at the same time creates local crack-blocking compressive stresses in response to macroscopic crack-opening tensile stresses. Now the real challenge is to develop processes capable of programming interlocking in the microstructure at the micron and nano scale independently of the composition.

The role of the PhD candidate will be to use digital light processing (DLP) additive manufacturing technique to fabricate metamaterials with rationally design microstructure to delay and slow-down crack propagation. This PhD position is part of a 5-years ERC Starting grant awarded to make small Scale interlocking mechanism for Strong and Tough mEtamatErials (SSTEEL) a reality. 

The candidate will learn during this PhD light-based additive manufacturing technique, science of colloids, ceramic processing, sintering techniques, structural characterisations, and fracture mechanics along with strong transferrable skills in scientific methods, problem solving, and scientific results communications. 

We are seeking applications from excellent, motivated and curious candidates with a minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) first degree in Materials Science, Chemistry or Applied Physics for a three-year PhD studentship. The project will be based in the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics ( and the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. This three-year studentship will provide full ‘home rate’ fees plus the standard maintenance stipend to students (currently a tax free annual stipend of £17,285).

Applications will be processed as received. For questions or further details regarding the project, please contact Dr Florian Bouville,


ClosingDate: May 2021

For questions regarding the admissions process, please contact Dr Alba Matas Adams. Formal applications can be completed online:  but only after informal enquiries information about the Department can be found at