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Super alumina: oxide nanocomposites for armour

Project Description

Supervisors: Professor Richard Todd, Professor Peter Nellist, Dr Antonio Pellegrino

The project aims to improve the ballistic properties of alumina without significantly increasing its cost (a more expensive alumina would not compete with SiC and B4C). This will be accomplished by a combination of nanosized 2nd phase additions, grain boundary engineering and customised flaw size distributions produced using ternary additions of sacrificial carbon nanoplatelets or graphene. The outcome will shift the properties of alumina towards those of SiC whilst retaining its more versatile and cost-effective processability.

As well as ceramic processing, the research will involve a range of electron optical techniques, ranging from conventional SEM characterisation of the microstructure to the composition and structure of the different grain boundary structures using HAADF aberration corrected STEM and other advanced spectroscopy techniques available at Oxford’s David Cockayne Centre for Electron Microscopy. The properties of the nanocomposites will be understood through a range of advanced macro- and micro-mechanical property measurements and ballistic impact testing.

Please note that part of the student’s time on the project will be spent at Dstl’s facilities and the project is restricted to UK/EU students only. There will also be supervision from the Department of Engineering, Dr Antonio Pellegrino.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Professor Richard Todd (). General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e mail to . You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies. Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at

Funding Notes

Subject to contract this 3-year DPhil in Materials studentship will be funded by Dstl and will provide full fees and maintenance for a student with home or EU fee status. The stipend will be £16,777 per year. Information on fee status can be found at View Website.

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