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Antimicrobial behaviour of novel alloyed steels (Advert Reference: SF18/MCE/GONZALEZ SANCHEZ)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Gonzalez Sanchez
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

In the European Union 8 to 12 % of the inhabitants risk of nosocomial infections. Hospital touch surfaces such as bed rails and handles can be a reservoir of pathogens that cause infections resulting not only in substantial economic losses but even in patient death. Antimicrobial copper and silver are the most effective touch surface material against pathogenic microbes. However, copper and silver is a relative expensive and soft and therefore replacing pure copper by copper or silver-containing steels may enable to provide suitable performance at relatively low cost.

A panel of microorganisms will be tested in two phases; most of the developmental work will be done quickly using Escherichia coli (vegetative growth) and Bacillus subtilis (a more resilient endospore), a more diverse panel of bacteria and fungi will be explored toward the end of the project.

The PhD student will use rapid solidification techniques to develop novel Cu- or Ag- containing steel alloys with high glass forming ability and optimum properties in terms of microbiological activity, wear properties. The microbiological studies will be carried out in collaboration with the Allied Health Sciences and Nursing Department (Northumbria University). Analysis will be carried out to monitor the behavior of a variety of clinically-relevant and artificially tolerant bacteria on these novel alloys.

This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in rapid solidification, mechanics and healthcare. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]) in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry or Engineering; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/MCE/GONZALEZ SANCHEZ) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project


V.M. Villapún, C.C. Lukose, M. Birkett, L.G. Dover, S. González. Tuning the antimicrobial behaviour of Cu85Zr15 thin films in “wet” and “dry” conditions through structural modifications. Appl. Surf. Sci. (2018) accepted.
V.M. Villapún, F. Esat, S. Bull, L.G. Dover, S. González. Tuning the mechanical and antimicrobial performance of a Cu-based metallic glass composite through cooling rate control and annealing. Materials 10 (2017) 1-20.
V.M. Villapún, H. Zhang, F. Esat, P. Pérez, J. Sort, S. Bull, J. Stach, S. González. Novel metallic glass composites with optimum wear and antimicrobial performance. Materials and Design 115 (2017) 93-102.

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