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Fully superconducting machines for electric aircraft propulsion

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Zhang
    Prof Weijia Yuan
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

In order to achieve a low carbon future, the aviation technology has to be dramatically changed. Hybrid electric aircraft offers a transforming solution to reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiency. Due to the constraint of space and weight in aircraft, high temperature superconducting (HTS) cables and machines offer a very promising compact solution to provide the power needed in an aircraft environment.

An enthusiastic PhD student is invited to join the Applied Superconductivity Group to conduct research in the design, modelling and testing of a superconducting machine for aircraft propulsion, using the second generation high temperature superconductor. The student will work with major international aircraft manufacturers and HTS device manufacturers throughout the PhD project. The student will get access to Strathclyde’s recently established state-of-art Applied Superconductivity Lab facility which includes various low temperature cryostat (10K-77K), high power supplies (up to 50kW), high precision measurement systems and access to real-time digital simulators via hardware-in-the-loop facility. The student will work in a collegiate and friend team within the Applied Superconductivity Group which now has 15 members including 1 Professor, 1 Reader and 1 Marie-Cure Fellow. The group has been pioneering in developing advanced numerical models for HTS devices and fully HTS machines for electric propulsion with the support from EPSRC, RAEng and H2020 since 2012. The group members have sit on editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity and management board of International HTS modelling group. In the past 5 years, the group members have won various prestigious prizes including the Jan Evetts SUST Award 2017 and the IEEE Van Duzer Prize 2014. More details can be found at https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/persons/weijia-yuan and https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/persons/min-zhang

The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in Strathclyde is ranked among top 100 in the world according to the latest Shanghai ranking (http://www.shanghairanking.com/Shanghairanking-Subject-Rankings/electrical-electronic-engineering.html). The student will be part of the Institute for Energy and Environment (InstEE) at the University of Strathclyde which has established an international reputation in electrical power engineering research https://www.strath.ac.uk/research/subjects/electronicelectricalengineering/instituteforenergyenvironment/ . It operates within the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, and hosts over 270 researchers in state-of-the-art facilities including the Technology and Innovation Centre and the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) https://www.strath.ac.uk/research/powernetworksdemonstrationcentre/ . The latter offers an HV/LV MW-scale power networks test bed for industry-scale systems testing. These facilities are utilised by a significant number of industrial partnerships and programmes, including the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Electrical Power Systems.


The candidate is expected to have a first class master level degree in relevant subject which includes but are not limited to Electrical/Mechanical Engineering, Physics, etc. Applicant with research experience and publication records in cryogenics, applied superconductivity and electrical machines are particularly welcome. The candidate is expected to provide three independent references. The project is expected to start from September 2019.

Funding Notes

For a UK/EU student, this is a full scholarship which will cover tuition fees and a tax-free maintenance payment of £15,009 p.a. (2018-19 rate) for 3 years.
For an overseas student, it’s a complete tuition fee waiver. Once the student joins the Department, he or she will be offered a research assistantship worth of £1200/month to cover a living stipend.

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 59.20

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities


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