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Next Generation High Performance Coatings for Space Applications [sponsor: ENBIO; Fully Funded]

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  • Full or part time
    Prof B Derby
    Dr A Yerokhin
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

This PhD is part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in "Materials for Demanding Environments" [CDT in M4DE], is sponsored by ENBIO and will commence October 2017.


ENBIO is currently actively working with thermal control surfaces for Space, release surfaces for the Automotive tire sector and REACH free adhesive primers for the Space and Aerospace sectors. Over the last 6 years ENBIO has developed two mission critical coatings for the upcoming Solar Orbiter mission for the European Space Agency. These two coatings, SolarBlack and SolarWhite make up the majority of the coated external surfaces of this craft that will be the closest man made object to the sun once it achieves its target orbit. ENBIO are also engaging in a number of development activities with a range of non-space companies to transfer the CoBlast technology to terrestrial applications.

Project Outline

The patented CoBlast process can be used to treat almost any metal surface and produce a customised topography and surface chemistry. This unique combination can produce a finished surface, or a functional primer for secondary treatment or coatings. There is a significant barrier to entry for new systems in high demand sectors and require extended system testing and optimisation (oil and gas, off-shore structures, marine, aerospace, space support and launcher structures).

The focus of this research activity would be to develop the next generation of CoBlast surfaces and study the interface between both the metal surface and the subsequent coating. For example, the SolarBlack CoBlast surface works as an effective primer for ENBIO’s high temperature white Space coating – SolarWhite. Optimisation of this interface may increase the use of CoBlast for high temperature coating applications or may act as a seed layer for subsequent treatments including: Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO), plasma spray, cold spray and chemical and physical vapour deposition. Topography and chemistry optimisation will be the key focus of the PhD with direct access to the ENBIO team for applied projects throughout the PhD programme.


ENBIO offers industry the potential to redefine the performance, function and value of metals across all industrial sectors with CoBlast. ENBIO operates in some of the most regulated and demanding markets, developing and delivering next-generation solutions to meet ever increasing material challenges.

CoBlast has applications across many industrial sectors and the ENBIO team is engaged with customers to develop custom coatings and processes from fundamental research stages right through to production. ENBIO currently undertakes coating production for the space sector. Building on this experience, ENBIO’s vision for CoBlast is to develop it as a core surface enhancement process across multiple industry sectors, e.g. aerospace, industrial, oil and gas, energy, and environment.

Funding Notes

Funding covers tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of £17,000. Students with a first class/2.1 degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, Materials Science, Metallurgy, Physics, Chemistry or another aligned science or engineering subject are encouraged to apply. Applications will be reviewed as they are received until a candidate is selected; therefore candidates are encouraged to apply early.

Student eligibility: Students must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship.

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