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Processing of Smart Porous Electro-Ceramic Transducers (ProSPECT)

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Prof Chris Bowen No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project Team: Prof Chris Bowen

Information queries: Prof Chris Bowen ([Email Address Removed])


(UK or French applications only)

Ferroelectrics are an important class of electro-active materials. Their piezoelectric and
pyroelectric properties make them vital materials for SONAR, pressure sensors/
accelerometers, energy harvesting, thermal imaging/sensing, and non-destructive evaluation.
Porosity in ferroelectric materials is often viewed as a defect. This PhD will demonstrate that
porosity can be used positively to significantly improve the performance of ferroelectric
materials. The research is a collaboration between the University of Bath (UK) and GREMAN
(Tours, France) and additional funding is available to visit collaborators in France.
This PhD will enhance a freeze casting process to deliver timely benefits in terms of
ease/speed of processing, to tailor the porosity, to form complex shapes by freezing in a
mould of the desired geometry, which will help to reduce waste. In collaboration with
GREMAN lab in France, pores will be infiltrated with compliant polymers to impart toughness
and flexibility/conformability to the transducer devices. The PhD will develop modelling tools
and manufacturing processes that enable the controlled design and manufacture of porous
This research will enable the production of porous lead-free piezoelectric and ferroelectrics
materials of the required architecture at low-cost with tuneable mechanical, thermal and
electrical properties to be tailored to their application. This will be demonstrated by the
development of flexible transducer devices for SONAR/sensor/harvesting applications to
showcase the technology.


Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, an undergraduate Masters first class degree or MSc distinction (or non-UK equivalent) in materials or related engineering/science discipline. English language entry requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding, see


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:

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020.

Funding Notes

Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees, maintenance stipend £15,285 per annum (2020/21 rate) and training support fee of £1,000 per annum for up to 3 years.
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