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A study of rolling contact fatigue in electric vehicles (EVs)


Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Monday, August 31, 2020 Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team: Prof. Ling Wang and Prof. Andy Cruden

Project description


While the zero emissions and energy efficiency advantages of electric cars compared with conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs) are being realised by many manufacturers and users due to the rapid cost reduction of batteries, technical challenges in the new transmission systems for these vehicles are emerging. Electric vehicles (EVs) contain motors that rotate at speeds of over 10,000rpm, which is much higher than the conventional ICEs (max. 6000rpm), causing issues related to high centrifugal forces and demanding heat transfer rate at interfaces. ECs experience much more frequent start and stops (compared to ICEs where the engine idles although the vehicle has stopped), which are however not tribologically favoured for motor components. Stray electrical currents have been recognised as a potential threat to bearings in the EVs due to current leakage in motors that may lead to severe bearing damages and premature failures. Previous studies have shown that extremely low electrical current density (<1 mA/mm2) at oil lubricated bearing race and rolling element interfaces may be responsible for premature bearing failures due to white etching cracks (WECs) in bearing steels, which has been found to have a huge impact on related electrical drives in the wind industry.

This study focuses on the evaluation of the influence of the induced and leakage electrical currents on rolling contact fatigue experienced in EVs.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Professor Ling Wang, nCATS Research Group, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 5076.

Entry Requirements
A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 “PhD Eng & Env (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Ling Wang under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include:
Curriculum Vitae
Two reference letters
Degree Transcripts to date
Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact:



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