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Application of Advanced Materials to Future Internal Combustion Engines

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, August 12, 2019
  • Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding
    Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

Project Description

Materion Corporation is a Global Leader in Advanced Materials and provider of performance alloys, precision coatings and other advanced materials, including Metal Matrix composites, Beryllium based products and ceramics.

The proposed PhD will investigate opportunities to deploy the Materion product portfolio to redesign and improve the performance of a range of IC engine internal and external components. These could include, but are not limited to, pistons, piston pin, con rods, cylinder liner materials, coating technologies, bearing surfaces, piston ring and other seals.

An initial study will undertake a high-level review of Materion material capabilities and their applicability to improving the performance of a state-of-the-art internal combustion engine- with a foresight to future IC engine material requirements. The expected deployment of materials would be
• Friction reduction- through base material and/or coating properties
• Improved thermal performance
o Optimised thermal conductivity
o thermal mass (as a function of light-weighting and material properties)
 leading to improved engine warm up
o thermal stability for improved control of tolerances
o materials able to operate at higher temperatures/pressures
• Light-weighting

Following initial analysis, a short-listing assessment in collaboration with Materion stakeholders will be undertaken. This will rank a number of these solutions, based on their expected benefits. A number of these will be taken forward in an analytical modelling approach to further confirm/refine expected benefits. It is anticipated this stage may encompass 1D and 3D engine modelling methods along with CFD and FEA tools. Following modelling approaches, It is anticipated that there will be an additional experimental/ validation stage either through component or complete engine evaluation. The scope of this work will depend on prototyping costs and access to test facilities within the PVRC/IAAPS and be decided in collaboration with Materion.

The PhD is fully funded by Materion, subject to contract, for 3.5 years (UK & EU fees only) with a stipend significantly in excess of the UKRI standard stipend for the ideal candidate. There will be significant opportunity to engage with the company at a senior level and with various Materion partners around the globe. Candidates should be engineers and hold a good 2:1 degree or better, although material scientists with a keen interest in automotive will be considered. A training budget will be provided and it is expected that PhD findings will be disseminated at national and international conferences and other events.

For informal enquiries contact Prof Sam Akehurst,

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Funding Notes

The Materion studentship, subject to contract, will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee, and an enhanced tax-free maintenance payment for a duration of 3.5 years. International applicants may apply but will need to confirm they are able to fund the difference between UK/EU tuition fees and Overseas tuition fees. Tution fee information is available at View Website

How good is research at University of Bath in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 61.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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