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PhD in Materials Science - Stresses in single crystal superalloys

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  • Full or part time
    Dr H Stone
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship to be run in close collaboration between the University of Cambridge (Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy), Diamond Light Source and the ISIS Pulsed Neutron Spallation Source.

Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper second or first class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents) and should meet the EPSRC criteria for UK/EU residency and liability for ’home rate’ fees. Overseas nationals are not eligible and should not apply.

The studentship is fully funded for UK students and will run for up to 4 years from October 2020. These will be co-located between the two sites, with years 1 and 4 in Cambridge (supervisor: Dr Howard Stone), and years 2 and 3 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory site in Oxfordshire (supervisors: Dr Leigh Connor (Diamond), Dr Joe Kelleher (ISIS)).

The gas turbine industry is actively seeking to improve efficiency and thereby reduce emissions from civil aviation. One of the key methods by which this can be achieved is through increasing the gas stream temperature as this enables improved thermodynamic efficiencies. However, further temperature increases are limited by the conditions that can be tolerated by the nickel-based superalloys used for key components. Among such components, the latest gas turbine engines utilise fourth generation superalloys for turbine blades. These alloys contain high concentrations of refractory and platinum group elements to achieve the properties required in service and are fabricated as single crystals. However, recent issues with these alloys in service have motivated a desire to develop an improved understanding of these newest alloys for their reliable use.

In this project, you will use a combination of in situ neutron and synchrotron X-ray diffraction to study the stresses that exist between the two main constituent phases in the newest single crystal superalloys, and how these evolve during mechanical testing. These studies will require development of appropriate methodologies for the manipulation of single crystals and effective interrogation of the data acquired. You will also perform microstructural characterisation of the alloys using electron microscopy (scanning and transmission) to study the microstructural features and dislocation structures that develop during testing.

Two additional joint projects are also available between the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy (Cambridge) and Diamond Light Source, offering an opportunity to form research networks outside of the immediate supervisory teams. The projects are designed so that all students will be present at Cambridge and Diamond during the same periods of their study.

The funds for this post are available up to 4 years and include fees and maintenance for “home-rate’ students, and a contribution to travel expenses between Cambridge and Diamond.
Potential applicants are strongly advised to send a two-page CV and expression of interest to Dr Howard Stone ([Email Address Removed]) before making a formal application.

The on-line application system is available at Further information on the application process is available from Rosie Ward ([Email Address Removed]).

Related Subjects

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