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Characterization of Ceramic-matrix Composites under Extreme Conditions

Department of Physics

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Dr Dong Liu No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a PhD project in the Experimental Mechanics of Advanced Materials Group (EMAM) at the School of Physics, University of Bristol to contribute to ceramics research. This studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years for home students according to the UKRI 2021/22 standard (support for tuition fees and a stipend of £15,609 per year).

Ceramic-Matrix Composites (CMCs) is considered to be one of the prime structural materials to replace metals for high temperature applications such as accident tolerant fuel cladding in nuclear reactor core (post Japanese Fukushima accident) or in an aerospace jet engine. However, there is still a lack of understanding in the failure modes of this class of ceramic-like materials under extreme conditions, for example, at high temperature and post neutron radiation. In this project, you will study the damage tolerance of a range of CMCs with novel designs provided by industrial collaborators in both nuclear and aerospace areas (e.g., Rolls Royce and US Westinghouse).

You will use synchrotron X-ray computed tomography, X-ray/neutron diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and micro-mechanical testing to acquire novel insight in the microstructure, stress-strain behaviour, residual stress evolution and defect development in these materials change with processing parameters and/or neutron irradiation. Ultimately you will develop a microstructure-based, multiple length-scale characterisation for these materials during your PhD. 

Excellent team working skills are essential in this project as you will be working with other PhDs and Postdocs in the group on data analysis, collaboration on large-scale experiments (e.g., synchrotron facilities) in the UK, EU and USA, and you will be interacting directly with external industrial partners and deliver milestones in a timely manner.

You should have a first or upper second-class (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in Materials, Physics, Chemistry or Engineering and the enthusiasm in ceramics.

This project will be supervised by Dr. Dong (Lilly) Liu and a second supervisor in Bristol, plus an industrial supervisor. The group website can be found here:

Please submit your online application through Bristol formal online admission system and email the reference number to Dr Dong (Lilly) Liu: [Email Address Removed] for a speedy response.

If you have informal enquiries during the process please also contact: Dr Dong (Lilly) Liu: [Email Address Removed]

Deadline for the applications is 21 March 2021.  

Anticipated start date for this PhD project is late September 2021.

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