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Hierarchical ferroelectric composites for energy conversion technologies

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Dr James Roscow , Prof Chris Bowen , Dr Hamideh Khanbareh No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Bath United Kingdom Ceramics Energy Technologies

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2021.

Funding is available to candidates who qualify for ‘Home’ fee status. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the rules governing fee status have changed and, therefore, candidates from the EU/EEA are advised to check their eligibility before applying. Please see the Funding Eligibility section below for more information.

Project Team: Dr James Roscow, Prof Chris Bowen, Dr Hamideh Khanbareh

Informal queries should be directed to: Dr James Roscow - [Email Address Removed]


We are looking to recruit a PhD student to a new research group within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath to study the coupled electromechanical properties of ferroelectric composites.

The ability of ferroelectric-based materials to harvest energy and information from ambient environments makes them of significant interest for the next generation of smart electronic devices. Forming composites based on ferroelectric ceramics offers the opportunity to tailor the functional and mechanical properties depending on the requirements of specific applications.

Recent advances in fabrication techniques enable the control microstructures across a range of length scales not achievable using traditional processes, such as dice-and-fill of monolithic ceramics or arrange-and-fill of ceramic fibres.

With advances in processing technologies comes an increased need to understand complex microstructure-property relationships over length scales spanning several orders of magnitude.

The interaction between ferroelectric/ferroelastic domains and local electric and mechanical fields is not well understood in composites with highly compliant second phases but could be a route to engineering materials with improved properties. Similarly, localised stress concentrations may have implications for the temperature-dependence and lifetime performance of ferroelectric composites, which needs to be better understood before promising technologies can be transferred into industrial applications.

An enthusiastic, creative and inquisitive student is sought to develop numerical models to understand interactions between ferro-/piezoelectric composite structures and mechanical and electric fields across this wide range of length scales to guide the future design of these materials.

These models will be validated experimentally with the aid of a post-doctoral researcher working on a closely related EPSRC project “Microstructural Engineering of Piezoelectric Composites,” which will provide new insight into these versatile functional materials.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent). A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.


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:

Expected start date: 4 October 2021

Funding Eligibility:

In order to be considered for a studentship, you must qualify as a ‘Home’ student. The UK Government has not yet published the relevant Fee Regulations for courses commencing in 2021/22; however, our current understanding is that the main categories of students likely to qualify for ‘Home’ fees are (subject to confirmation by the UK Government):

  • UK nationals (meeting residency requirement*)
  • Irish nationals resident in the UK/Ireland since at least September 2018
  • EU/EEA applicants with settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (meeting residency requirement*)
  • Applicants with indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK (meeting residency requirement*)

*Residency requirement: in most cases applicants must have lived in the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland continuously since September 2018.

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for ‘Home’ fees and funding.

Up-to-date information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage and on the UKCISA website. The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2021.

Funding Notes

A studentship includes ‘Home’ tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3.5 years.
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