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PhD Studentship in solid-liquid interfaces

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

  Dr J Wong  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a research studentship in the field of solid-liquid interfaces leading to the award of a PhD degree. To be eligible for support, applicants must be “UK Residents” as defined by the EPSRC.

This project is part of a multidisciplinary project InFUSE whose goal is to study key material and fluid interfaces across a range of application areas with direct impact on the energy transition. Our aim is to create a step-change in the correlative characterisation of interfaces embedded in these systems under realistic environments.

Temperature (and the extraction of heat) plays a very important role in the performance of machines. For example, increased temperature may reduce the viscosity of lubricants, which impacts on friction or wear of machines. It may also lead to increased rate of undesirable reactions, such as corrosion and surface degradation. Overheating also reduces components lives. In the context of EV, increased temperature reduces battery efficiency and poses safety risk. All these applications point to the importance of characterising interfacial thermal conductance at a solid-liquid interface, which is extremely challenging.

In this experimental project, the PhD researcher will characterise the thermoconductance of solid-liquid interfaces in engineering fluids, including lubricants, coolants, and refrigerants. Specifically, the effects of additives, coatings and surface modifications will be investigated. To do so, the researcher will design a setup based on thermoreflectance measurements. Complementary techniques such as QCM, AFM, IR will also be employed. The potential of using thermoreflectance for acquiring film formation kinetics will also be explored.

This project will be based at Imperial College with significant interaction with the project partners, Thin Film Technology Laboratory, Diamond Light Source and Shell. The PhD researcher also will be a part of the Tribology Group. It offers a vibrant, multidisciplinary and multicultural working environment. Laboratories were recently refurbished and are well equipped with an extensive range of instrumentation and extensive computer facilities.

You will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person who meets the academic requirements for enrolment for the PhD degree at Imperial College London. You will hold, or be expected to achieve, a Master’s degree or a 4 year undergraduate degree at 2:1 level (or above) in a relevant subject, e.g. Chemical or Mechanical Engineering, Materials, Chemistry, Physics or a related field. You will have an enquiring, rigorous and hands-on approach to research, together with a strong intellect and disciplined work habits. An interest in experimental work and development is essential, as are good team-working, observational and communication skills.

To find out more about research at Imperial College London in this area, go to:

For information on how to apply, go to:

For further details of the post contact Dr Janet Wong (). Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry.

Closing date: until post filled

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3.5 years starting as soon as possible and will provide full coverage of UK students standard tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £17,609. Please check your suitability at the following web site:
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