Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  Multiscale modelling of hydrogen induced microstructure modification near defects and their influence in structural materials for hydrogen economy

   Birmingham and BAM Joint PhDs

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

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr N Warnken  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Birmingham's College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (UoB EPS) and the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, BAM) are offering co-funded PhD studentships, giving PhD candidates in chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials engineering subjects the opportunity to study alongside world-leading academics.

BAM is a world-leading centre of excellence for “Safety in technology and chemistry” with responsibility to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. Uniquely positioned at the interface of science, technology, industry and policymaking, BAM integrates research, assessment and consultation within its five focus areas Analytical Sciences, Materials, Energy, Environment and Infrastructure, providing a crucial contribution to the technical safety of products and processes, development of industry and society.

The University of Birmingham (UK) is a leading comprehensive research institution, distinguished by the breadth and exceptional quality of its research. Established in 1900, the University has been pursuing and sharing knowledge through outstanding teaching and world-leading research. We are the original ‘redbrick’ University, part of the prestigious Russell Group; our thriving student population enjoys a wide range of courses, and exceptional campus and research facilities.

 BAM and UoB established a bilateral strategic partnership in 2018 that has delivered thriving, exciting and innovative research in the fields of Chemistry, Energy, Additive Manufacturing and Environmental Sciences.

These studentships are aligned with BAM’s research priorities, providing students with an opportunity to contribute directly to the safety of strategic technologies. Each student will benefit from co-supervision by a senior BAM scientist who will work closely with the UoB academic supervisor to maximise the value of the joint studentship.

Each PhD student will spend 21 months at UoB and 21 months at BAM (located in Berlin). This will allow students to utilize both UoB´s and BAM's formidable facilities, and to enhance the research through access to the holistic network of senior researchers at both institutions. 

Applications are invited for the following project:

Multiscale modelling of hydrogen induced microstructure modification near defects and their influence in structural materials for hydrogen economy

UoB Supervisor and School:

Associate Professor Nils Warnken, School of Metallurgy and Materials

 BAM Supervisor and Division:

Dr. Tilmann Hickel, Division 6.4 Materials Informatics

Replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen creates a number of important materials challenges. Hydrogen tends to diffuse rapidly and attaches itself to existing materials defects such as grain boundaries and dislocations. This not only causes embrittlement of materials but also phase transformations and hydride formation. While these phenomena are reasonably well investigated in perfect crystal structures, realistic materials contain multiple alloying elements; their microstructures exhibit defects, making very sophisticated energetic and kinetic descriptions necessary.

 This project addresses the interaction of three features that are decisive for structural materials but so far have not been simultaneously considered in computer simulations: secondary phases, interstitial hydrogen and extended defects. The interplay of these will be considered from a thermodynamic (static) and a kinetic (growth) point of view.

The aim is combing two advanced computational methods into a multiscale approach: at the atomic/electronic scale density functional theory addresses chemo-structural interaction of defects in the context of defect phase diagrams yielding insight into the effect of hydrogen on thermodynamic properties, which are then used in phase field simulations on the meso-scale to model the effect on microstructure evolution.  

Eligibility Criteria

The entry requirements are either:

-              An upper second-class honours undergraduate degree in a relevant subject.

-              An MSc/MRes/MEng in a relevant subject.

How to Apply

Applicants must make their application through the Application Portal. Applicants are encouraged to contact prospective supervisors informally to discuss the project. Applications should include a statement of research interests. Please detail the supervisor and project title under the Research Information section of the application form. For further information on how to apply please visit

Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

Value of Award
A fully funded studentship is available for students on this PhD programme for October 2024 start. During their time at UoB, students will receive a UKRI-rate Doctoral Stipend. During their time at BAM, students will receive a regular work contract .

Where will I study?

Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.