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New Materials for Thermal Battery Insulation

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  • Full or part time
    Prof A.V. Powell
    Dr R Grau-Crespo
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

"A PhD studentship fully funded by AWE is available to work on a project that seeks to develop novel thermally-insulating materials for thermal batteries. These are batteries in which the electrolyte, a solid under stored conditions, becomes molten on application of a thermal pulse, leading to charge flow and normal battery operation. Improved thermally-insulating materials are required to extend battery lifetimes and aid miniaturisation.
The project will focus on reducing the thermal conductivity of oxides by increasing the scattering of heat-carrying phonons. A hierarchical approach across different length scales will be exploited to maximise the phonon scattering over a wide range of the phonon spectrum. This will involve investigation of framework oxides with large unit cells, in which a combination of chemical substitution, the introduction of weakly-bonded non-framework species and nanostructuring will be used to produce materials with low thermal conductivity.
The project will involve a blend of solid-state synthesis, encompassing traditional high-temperature methods as well as mechanochemical and solution-based approaches, structural analysis by powder X-ray and neutron diffraction, electron microscopy and transport property measurements. The experimental program will be complemented by computational studies of thermal transport properties, using both classical methods, based on interatomic potentials, and quantum-mechanical methods, based on density functional theory.

Funding Notes

This studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years and covers PhD tuition fees, together with a tax-free stipend (currently £15,009 per year). Due to restrictions on the funding, this studentship is only open to candidates from the UK/EU

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a minimum of an upper second class honours degree in chemistry, physics, or materials science.

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