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4-year Fully Funded Project: Improving Fundamental Understanding of Rough Surface Contacts with Third-Body Layers Present.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, February 28, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Tribology (iT-CDT), in collaboration with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) is offering a fully funded 4 - year PhD.

About the Project:

This project, supported by the iTCDT and RSSB (and a range of railway industry stakeholders) aims to improve the understanding of the contact mechanics and friction behaviour of rough surface interfaces with third-body layers present.

This will mainly be in the context of the wheel/rail (and consider a range of third-body layers including oxides/wear debris; brake block debris; and other applied products and contaminants), but other applications will also be considered as this is a cross-cutting project. Focus will be placed on particle systems and rheological effects.

Both experimental work and modelling will be carried out. In both cases little work has been carried out considering transient interface conditions. Models predict what will happen for a given interface conditions and given roughness and there are few experimental techniques that can give real time interface conditions. Here a novel ultrasonic technique will be used to measure interface contact stress in real time during a test.

In this project the emerging High Pressure Torsion test approach (used in T1077) will be used with instrumented specimens to measure the interface stiffness as roughness evolves during cycles with and with third-body layers. This will provide improved input to rough surface interface models enabling transience to be built in.

Modelling work will be carried out in collaboration with the Virtual Vehicle Center in Graz, Austria. Travel is anticipated to Austria for meetings and further afield for conferences such as CM2021 in Melbourne Australia.


RSSB - Through research, standards and analysis RSSB help over 112 members deliver a better, safer railway.

iT-CDT - is a training and research centre for PhD Students. Working in collaboration with the University of Leeds, the Centre recruits a cohort of 12 students per year working along side world leading academics and industrial partners

Tribology is all about friction, wear and lubrication and is the science behind how things move over each other. The iT-CDT provides students with advanced science and technology training designed to provide relevant tribology fundamentals to students with engineering and physical sciences background, a bespoke professional and personal development programme, to equip students with transferable skills required for careers in both academia and industry and industry exposure through placements/projects with industrial partners.

Funding Notes

Funding covers the cost of fees and provides a maintenance matching the Research Council UK rate (£14,777 for 2018/19 with and enhancement of £1,487.00 total: £16,264.00). Funding duration is 4 years. UK and EU applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance.

Applicants must be able to start immediately.

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