Assessing and Modelling the Performance of Syntactic Composite Materials

   School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

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  Dr M Oldfield, Dr M Whiting  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Syntactic composites combine high compressive strength and low density through their unique structure where rigid micro balloons are bonded together with a thermoset resin. These materials have varying density and meso/microstructure on a variety of length scales which depends on the processing route by which they are manufactured. The process-structure-property relationships of these materials is not well understood. This research aims to establish these relationships.

More specifically this study will:

•        Characterise the meso and microstructure of syntactic composites (supplied by AWE) by using digital reflected light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.

•        Bespoke rigs will be developed to measure the compressive properties, performance, and fracture of these composites. It is expected that the nature of these materials will require alternatives to available standards for fracture toughness determination such as [1].

•        Using appropriate modelling, establish the relationship between the mechanical properties and the meso and microstructure of these materials.

This will include (i) establishing the fundamental origin of strength of these materials, (ii) understanding the origins of fracture toughness of these materials, (iii) establishing the role of density variations of strength, fracture toughness and performance.

Supervisors: Dr Matthew Oldfield, Dr Mark J Whiting

Entry requirements

Open to UK students starting in October 2023.

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our PhD programme.

Candidates must meet Surrey graduate entry requirements which include holding at least an upper second-class degree or equivalent qualifications in a relevant subject area such as physics, materials science or engineering. A Master’s degree in a relevant discipline and additional research experience would be an advantage.

We are committed to supporting Female, Black, Asian, or minoritised ethnic communities (sometimes referred to as BAME) that are currently under-represented. All candidates must be permanent UK resident for fee purposes.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Engineering Materials PhD programme page. In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for and the name of the relevant supervisor.

Funding Notes

Funding covers a stipend £19,000 pa (tax free) and UK “home” tuition fees for 3.5 years. Funding is available to cover travel, conferences and consumables. Eligibility follows standard research council rules and include UK/Irish citizenship or ordinary residence within the UK for 3 years prior to the funding commencing, but please note that in the latter case only home fees will be covered.

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