Our research cuts across the traditional disciplinary boundaries, and we therefore invite applications for research leading to the PhD degree from scientists and engineers in all appropriate subjects who have an interest in any of our research areas. The main application sectors addressed by our research are: energy conversion; environmental protection; transport; electronics/optoelectronics; and healthcare. Across all themes the research is carried out with strong support from and involvement of industrial organisations. This close collaboration with industry, alongside our first class facilities, ensures that the Department is at the forefront of Materials Science and Engineering research.

Postgraduate Research Courses

PhDs

 
PhD studentship in understanding hydrogen sulphide cracking in pipeline steels

Would you like to work on understanding cracking of engineering materials used in oil & gas applications? As part of the Shells Advanced Interfaces in Materials Science University Technology Centre (AIMS UTC), we are looking to recruit a 3.5 year funded (fees & stipend) PhD student.

The project will focus on developing understanding of cracking using combined lab-based electrochemical and mechanical testing, and working with autoclaves, to understand the role of hydrogen and stress in the failure of engineering materials. Together we will develop a testing that will be used understand the threshold stress and hydrogen concentration to crack pipe-line steels. You will use state-of-the-art electron microscopy, including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and focussed ion beam (FIB) to explore crack tips and plasticity around notches. Together with our industrial partners (who include Shell Global Solutions), we will develop mechanistic understanding of the failure process.

Supervisor:
Dr Ben Britton

Start date: October 2019
Duration:
42 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
This PhD studentship is funded by the Shell AIMS UTC. The funding will cover tuition fees plus a maintenance stipend of £16,553 (this year’s rate) per annum.


Deadline:
31 August 2019

>> How to Apply

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 Elastocaloric heat pumps for decarbonisation

Refrigeration, air conditioning and space/water heating accounts for a large fraction of global energy demand and hence emissions, which may be reduced dramatically if more efficient heat pumps can be developed. Caloric materials offer a route to achieve this, and once resource availability, cost and scale-up are taken into consideration, elastocaloric systems such as NiTi and CuZnAl become very attractive. In this project we will develop a material that isn’t subject to function fatigue (link) and demonstrate a vapour compression cycle regenerator (evolved from Tusek - link) using an elastocaloric foam, fabricated additively by laser powder bed fusion, templating or by binder jet printing, at the 25g / 12.5Hz / 1.5 kWth, in order to provide real-world estimates of the coefficient of performance of such a device.  This project will involve device design, material processing and alloy development, complemented by advanced characterisation methods including thermomechanical characterisation, (S)TEM, EBSD and synchrotron and neutron diffraction.

Supervisor:
Prof David Dye

Start date: October 2019
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
This project would suit a self-funded or scholarship student, or for an EPSRC-eligible student (UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date).
Deadline:
31 August 2019

>> How to Apply

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 Better titanium in jet engines that don't break: advanced characterisation of deformation (sponsored by Rolls-Royce)

In recent years, we have more-or-less solved the dwell fatigue problem in titanium alloys, and are turning our attention to understanding why features in components such as notches are more damaging in some titanium alloys and products than others. Techniques such as digital image correlation (DIC) optically around crack tips and in the SEM, coupled with high resolution EBSD and complemented by synchrotron X-ray tomography and dislocation analysis in the (S)TEM now allow us to probe the operating slip systems around a crack tip and therefore to understand the effects of stress triaxiality, overloads and mean stress on fatigue crack growth.  This will then in parallel work, help us to design better titanium alloys and microstructures that can sustain higher service loads, improving the safety and efficiency of jet engines. This work is part-funded by Rolls-Royce, and provides the opportunity for close industrial interaction with their materials team, and will be supervised by Prof David Dye and Dr Ben Britton.

Supervisor: Prof David Dye

Start date: October 2019
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
Only to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date.

Deadline:
31 August 2019

>> How to Apply

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 PhD studentship in water corrosion of fine-grained ceramics

Understanding of the impact of interfaces is critical to enhance their properties for the development of future industrial materials. Such materials find application in for example biomedical devices or corrosion resistant surface treatment of cooling systems.
Here we will focus on the investigations of ceramics that are exposed to high-temperature or supercritical water. Understanding the reaction mechanism at interfaces and the character variations of interfaces as a function of exposure to H2O is at the heart of these studies. The results are also applicable to reactions at conditions of the lower crustal zone and thus of interest to Earth sciences.

Supervisor:
Dr Katharina Marquardt

>> Find out more  (pdf)

Start date: October 2019
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
Only to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or self-funded international students

Deadline:
31 August 2019

>> How to Apply

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Summary of the table's contents
PhD in 3D Printing of miniaturized devices from 2D material inks 


Deterministic assembly of 2D materials in three-dimensional miniaturized structures is paramount for the fabrication of new small-scale devices to serve in on-chip technologies. This is a new manufacturing challenge, as miniaturization is currently developed to achieve planar-geometries. Three-dimensional printing allows templating materials with arbitrary complexity at different scales. The Mattevi group has developed a general strategy to formulate highly concentrated, water-based 2D material inks suitable for printing functional 3D architectures in miniaturized scales. This PhD studentship will develop more exciting opportunities offered by this approach. The qualified candidate will formulate new inks based on 2D materials suitable for printing three-dimensional architectures, mechanical robust and that can be used as energy storage devices. S/he will use advanced 3D printing, materials characterisation techniques and s/he will take part in the process of fabrication and test of electrochemical devices.

Supervisor:
Dr Cecilia Mattevi

Start date: October 2019
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
Only to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or self-funded international students

Deadline:
30 June 2019

>> How to Apply

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Graphene Chemistry, Characterisation, and Composites  


Intrinsically, ideal graphene and related materials (GRMs) have exceptional properties and offer the potential for fundamental improvements in a wide range of applications. The ability to manifest these properties in useful macroscopic applications is intimately linked to the manufacturing processes and modification chemistry involved, which determine the nature and quality of the GRMs produced, as well as the extent of their dispersion in solvents (for inks) or matrices (for composites). The aim of the project will be to better understand the nature of GRM based products, using advanced techniques to map the locus of functionalization, and the three dimensional dispersion/orientation within, for example, polymer matrices.


Supervisor: Professor Milo Shaffer

Start date: October 2019
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or self-funded international students

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to Apply: Stage

1: Send a full CV, including your marks (%), the names and contact details of two referees, as well as a covering letter, to Professor Milo Shaffer. Applications that do not provide all this information cannot be considered.

Stage 2: Suitable applicants will be interviewed and, if successful, invited to make a formal application.  The prospectus, entry requirements and application form (under ‘how to apply’) are available at: imperial.ac.uk/pgprospectus. Please contact Dr Alba Maria Matas Adams, Postgraduate Research Coordinator in Materials for further information.

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At Imperial we’ve solved the 60 year old mystery: we have a maser that functions at room temperature, and without the need for an external magnet.  Potential applications for the maser include more sensitive medical scanners; chemical sensors for remotely detecting explosives; advanced quantum computer components; and better radio astronomy devices.  Our maser uses pentacene in a P terphenyl host matrix and we are looking for other molecules.  We are also interested in inorganic materials – possibly using defect centres in diamond for example.


Supervisor: Professor Neil Alford MBE FREng

>> Find out more (pdf)

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or self-funded international students

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Development of New Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine 
This project aims to synthesise polymer-based materials designed according to the requisites in bone or cardiovascular tissue engineering. A major goal will be the elucidation of the physical and chemical properties at the cell-material interface using state of the art materials-based characterisation techniques. The key features of the materials’ properties on the influence of cells in 2D and 3D culture will then be assessed.


Supervisor:
Professor Molly Stevens FREng

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or self-funded international students

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to Apply
Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Development of New Biomaterials for Biosensing 
This project will focus on the development of new nanomaterial-based assays that detect biomarkers specific to cancer and infectious diseases according to relevant biomarker concentrations and cost-amenability. The physical proper ties of the assay will need to be completely characterised to understand the effects of agglomeration and influence of surrounding proteins. This project includes preclinical tests using patient samples.

Supervisor: Professor Molly Stevens FREng

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or self-funded international students

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to Apply
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Centres for Doctoral Training

Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials (ACM CDT) 

Imperial College London jointly with the University of London has a number of four-year fully-funded studentships available. This funding requires you to be a home student*.  Successful applicants will be registered at either Imperial College London or University College London.

The CDT ACM PhD programme offers training in the application of state-of-the-art characterisation techniques to materials challenges in key thematic areas of societal importance such as Energy, Information Technology, Nanomaterials, Healthcare, Security, Environment and Transport. 

Each project will involve experts at both University College London and Imperial College London and you will spend time at both sites during your project.  You will also have a three-month placement at a leading international university, research institute or industrial partner.  Specially designed training modules in characterisation will be interwoven with your PhD research project, and you will receive professional development training delivered by our award-winning Graduate Schools. The world-leading research that you will be involved with will be closely linked with real-world applications, as the projects will be aligned with the priorities of our network of industrial partners.  On graduation you will be ideally qualified to follow a career path either in academia or industry.  Our training philosophy is that our graduates will provide the innovation and creativity required to lead the world in the development, characterisation and manufacture of new materials, making a significant contribution to the quality of life of future generations.

This CDT seeks candidates for October 2019 entry.  You will hold, or be expected to achieve, a Master's degree in addition to a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) at 2:1 level (or above) in a relevant subject (e.g. Materials, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical or Chemical Engineering).   Students will take taught courses at both universities during this three month period. We are looking to recruit up to 6 students on the following projects:

  1. Development of characterisation methods for aerospace failure investigation
  2. Molecular Cage Membranes for PX separation
  3. The Surface Properties of Particulate Materials and their Caking Behaviour
  4. In situ measurement of strains induced during Laser Shock Peening
  5. Deformation micromechanisms around notches in titanium alloys
  6. Low temperature sulphidation-related stress corrosion cracking of single crystal superalloys
  7. Hydrogen Embrittlement in 3D printed Inconel 718 superalloy
  8. Shining a light on marine archaeological iron: understanding the kinetics and mechanisms of degradation to inform future conservation strategies
  9. Saving the Mary Rose: Determining the structural and material properties of a Tudor shipwreck 

 For further details of each project please see our website http://cdt-acm.org/. To make informal enquires please contact the CDT team on admin@cdt-acm.org

Start date: October 2019

Closing date:  Sunday 14th July 2019
Duration: 48 months (PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: 

Applications will be handled in two stages:

Stage 1:  :  Send a full CV, including the marks (%) for all (undergraduate) modules completed to date, the names and contact details of two referees, as well as a covering letter, to the CDT at admin@cdt-acm.org. Applications that do not provide all this information will not be considered.

Stage 2: Suitable applicants will be interviewed and, if successful, invited to make a formal application.

* European Union nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years prior to starting a PhD studentship. Overseas students with full funding are welcome to apply.


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures  EPSRC logo

Applications are invited for four-year fully-funded PhD studentships, there are 12 Studentships available, starting in October 2019 at either Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Bristol, The Open University or Bangor University.

Nuclear power generates the largest fraction of low-carbon electricity in the UK and has a positive impact on the security and stability of our nation's energy supply. As the UK curbs fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, includes a greater proportion of renewable energy, and at the same time electrifies road transport and decarbonises central heating, nuclear power assumes a vital role in any future energy mix as a source of low-carbon baseload electricity.

To ensure nuclear is an important part of a greener and securer future, the skills shortage needs to be addressed, new build and decommissioning costs need to come down, geological disposal must be explored, and the UK has to have the skills to contribute meaningfully to cutting-edge technologies, such as fusion and Gen IV reacto

For more information about the programme and funding options, please visit imperial.ac.uk/nuclear-cdt/programme/, or download our pdf document‌.

Start date:
October 2019
Duration: 48 months (PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: 5 August 2019


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics  EPSRC logo


The Plastic Electronics CDT academic cohort comprises over 30 academics from the Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials and Physics departments at Imperial, the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University, London, and the Physics and Materials departments at the University of Oxford. This ensures expertise in all aspects of the science of printable electronics, from material synthesis to advanced characterisation and modelling, to device design and fabrication. The PE-CDT aims to produce graduates with interdisciplinary experience and capability in the science and applications of printable electronic materials and devices, with an understanding of the associated industry, and with the ability to adapt and develop new technologies and applications.

For more information please visit the Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics

Start date:
TBC
Duration: 48 months  (MREs +PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: For up-to-date offers, please visit the Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics programme pages website


EPSRC Imperial-Cambridge-Open Centre for Theory and Simulation of Materials (TSM-CDT)  EPSRC logo

The 4 year PhD programme in Theory and Simulation of Materials combines the one year MSc in TSM with a 3 year PhD research project. The first year provides a rigorous training in the required theoretical methods and simulation techniques through the taught MSc programme and includes a 3-month research project which normally acts as an introduction to the PhD research project that follows.

On completion of the MSc in TSM, students undertake their PhD research project, which occupies years 2-4. Each student has at least two supervisors (one of whom may be based in industry or at another university) whose combined expertise spans multiple length- and/or time-scales of materials theory and simulation. Students do not have to make a choice of their research project until May of year 1 and there will be a large range of projects to choose from.

For more information please visit: imperial.ac.uk/theory-and-simulation-of-materials/programmes/4-year-phd/

Start date:
TBC
Duration: 48 months (MSc +PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: Please visit: imperial.ac.uk/theory-and-simulation-of-materials/phd-opportunities/