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Robocasting entropy stabilised ultra-high temperature ceramic composites for hypersonic applications


Department of Materials

About the Project

Hypersonic flight (>Mach 4) requires materials that can withstand high temperatures (>2000 °C) in harsh, oxidative, environments for a range of components. The list of materials that can withstand such temperatures is extremely short and therefore there has been intensive research in using ultra-high temperature ceramics, a class of ceramics with melting points above 3000 °C. Good progress has been made, but due to their relatively high coefficient of thermal expansion and high values for Young modulus, their thermal shock resistance remains a worry. The proposed study, in collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, will therefore investigate the production of composites with an ultra-high temperature ceramic as a matrix in order to improve the thermal shock resistance of these materials. A second concept to be investigated is the design of the thermal conductivity of these materials by a graded matrix composition so that the heat flow can be directed away from the tips and sharp edges being heated by the aerodynamic shock while minimising the heat flow to the fuselage of the airplane. The PhD student will both produce the materials and as well as characterising their thermo-mechanical properties from room temperature to elevated temperatures. While experience with ceramic processing is a plus, the student can be trained and will be embedded in the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics at the Department of Materials (http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/structuralceramics). The student will also receive training at Dstl (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/defence-science-and-technology-laboratory) for a period of approximately 15 weeks, spread over the PhD.

Applicants should have an interest in processing and materials characterisation and should possess good analytical and practical skills. An aptitude for experimental research work is desirable. Applications are invited from candidates with a good upper-second or first-class honours degree in Materials or related Engineering areas.

The rules on who is eligible are strict and cannot be changed. Only UK nationals, who fulfil the requirements for UKRI studentships, are eligible. The studentship is for four years starting as soon as possible and will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend at the UKRI level (£17285 in 2020/2021)+ a £1500 top up per year.

Applications will be assessed as received and all applicants should follow the standard College application process (https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/how-to-apply/apply-for-a-research-programme-/ ). Informal enquiries and requests for additional information for this post can be made to: Prof Vandeperre via e-mail:

Should you have any queries regarding the application process please contact:

Alba Matas Adams by e-mail:

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. The Department of Materials has an Athena Silver SWAN Award, Imperial is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a Two Tick Employer. 


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