In this Phd project we want to study thin polymer films and understand the failure mechanisms in barrier coating materials. Such coatings are vitally important functional films as they help inhibit as well as retard metal corrosion, extending the service life of metals in many critically important situations (aviation, marine, construction and infrastructure). This project will involve the study of epoxy coating layers with nanoparticle fillers to understand the effects of the various interfaces on the mechanical and transport properties. This will be using highly sensitive techniques including; Ellipsometry,dielectric spectroscopy, AFM,Neutron reflectometry and SESANS. The project will also couple the experimental design with machine learning approaches to explore parameter space.
The project will involve working as part of a truly multidisciplinary team, interacting with both experimentalists and theory experts, in the Physics Department, our colleagues and collaborators in Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering in Sheffield; and also the School of Materials at the University of Manchester and our industrial sponsor Akzo-Nobel.