Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Southampton Featured PhD Programmes
University of East Anglia Featured PhD Programmes

Encapsulated Phase change materials for built environmental thermal management (Advert Reference: SF19/EE/MCE/QIAN)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Dr Zi Qian , Prof Stewart Franks Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The project is seeking to develop the use of phase change materials encapsulated within a metal structure to passively control the local environmental temperature within an office or domestic dwelling within the comfort range of 20-30oC. Within the EU 41% of energy utilisation is within buildings, a large proportion being for space conditioning.

This proposal is concerned with establishing the viability of a novel building environmental conditioning system consisting of a latent heat storage system (LHS) using phase change materials (PCM). It is estimated that the novel system when used with best practice building design coupled with natural ventilation could reduce energy use and costs by up to 80% of the air conditioned solution.

This project will be done in association with “Full Blown Metals”, a local company that produces blown metal decorative objects and award winning architectural elements. Their products include a modular room divider concept that was awarded the Interior Design’s Best of Year 2015 award. Clients include Maison Guerlain and Louis Vuitton, Paris. Other examples can be seen at Trinity Square in Gateshead and the Mexican pavilion in Zaragoza.

This project will be approached from both theoretical and experimental pathways. Focus will be on characterising the thermal behaviour of encapsulated PCMs and the most effective way of applying it to the metal installations. Computational modelling of the encapsulated PCM elements will be performed using propriety software to determine the optimal lengths and arrangements of the conduction paths within the PCM. The theoretical results will then be translated into fully instrumented test pieces that will be tested in a monitored environment. At the same time in parallel with the experimental thermal studies fire resistance and health and safety aspects of the PCMs will be considered.

This project is supervised by Dr Zi Qian.

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]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

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. SF19/EE/MCE/QIAN) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2020 or 1 October 2020

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.


A new stochastic model for simulating daily solar radiation from sunshine hours, Lockart, N., Kavetski, D., Franks, S. 1 Jan 2015, In: International Journal of Climatology.
On the role of soil moisture in daytime evolution of temperatures, Lockart, N., Kavetski, D., Franks, S. 30 Dec 2013, In: Hydrological Processes.
Refurbishment options to decarbonise a 1960s public office building by 2050s, Ng, B., Tindall, J., Edge, J., Morrell, J., Tioh, D., Choi, K., Du, H., Wei, S., Waggott, A., Barber, A., Keating, M., Walker, S., Qian, Z. 12 Apr 2018.
Users’ Behaviours and Preferences for Low Carbon Homes: lessons for predicting energy demand, Hamza, N., Qian, Z., Stein, O., 2015, 14th International Conference of the International Building Performance Simulation Association, Hyderabad, 7-9 December 2015.
Validating the performance of a Double Skin Facade in winter in a hot arid climate. Hamza N, Qian Z., 2016, In: Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA2016): Cities, Buildings, People: Towards Regenerative Environments. Los Angeles, USA.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.