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Functional thin film coatings design and optimisation based on the wear and corrosion mechanisms for the next generation nuclear reactors


Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Friday 30 June 2023
Project start date
Sunday 1 October 2023
Country eligibility
UK only
Competition funded
Source of funding
Centre for doctoral training
Dr Frederick Oritseweneye Pessu and Dr Liuquan Yang
Additional supervisors
Prof. Bruce Hanson
School of Mechanical Engineering
Research groups/institutes
Institute of Functional Surfaces
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Are you an enthusiastic graduate with an interest in material, tribology and corrosion in the nuclear industry? Do you wish to join the Nuclear Engergy - GREEN (Growing skills for Reliable Economic Energy from Nuclear) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) team and become a future nuclear expert? Materials challenges have always been critical for delivering low-carbon energy towards the UK&rsquo;s goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. From the current technologies (both the current operating reactors and new builds) to the future technologies (such as Advanced Nuclear Reactors and fusion, etc), functional coatings have been supporting the safety, reliability and durability of the components for those challenges. Recent government grant of over &pound;200m to Rolls-Royce small nuclear reactors, part of the Low Cost Nuclear Challenge (LCN), would see more advanced nuclear reactors to be developed in the UK over the coming years.<br /> <br /> Components in reactors are typically coated in hard chrome plating using electroplating, a well-established corrosion and wear resistance process. However, Cr-plating creates carcinogens. Since the EU&rsquo;s REACH legislation took effect, alternatives such as thin film coatings (PVD and CVD coatings), thermal spray, cold spray and many other ceramic coatings, have been researched. Components in nuclear environments have to withstand high levels of irradiation, high temperature wear and corrosion, thus the understanding of those coatings are vital for the safety and longevity of the components. Failure and material degradation mechanisms, the ability to predict material failures and functional new surface coatings design are yet to be fully understood.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> This project will focus on the fundamental understanding of coatings subject to irradiation, wear and corrosion environment, enabled by the two Royce facilities at Leeds, i.e., Industrial PVD/PECVD coating system and the new tribological platform for vacuum and gaseous/hydrogen environment, to design and optimise the coating structures, which can benefit many nuclear applications.<br /> <br /> This project is part of a Cohort wide recruitment process onto the GREEN CDT and funding for individual projects will be determined by selection of the best Candidate(s).&nbsp;

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p><a href="">Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy &ndash;&nbsp;GREEN</a></p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly&nbsp;Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying to&nbsp;<strong><em>EPSRC CDT Nuclear Energy-GREEN</em></strong>&nbsp;and&nbsp;in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is&nbsp;<em><strong>&lsquo;Functional thin film coatings design and optimisation based on the wear and corrosion mechanisms for the next generation nuclear reactors&rsquo;</strong></em> as well as&nbsp;<strong><em>Dr Liuquan Yang</em></strong> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p><strong>Applications will be considered after the closing date of 28 April 2023.</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the main supervisor for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application process may take you a while to complete all the steps.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> <li>Funding</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p class="MsoNoSpacing">A highly competitive EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in GREEN studentship in partnership with Rolls Royce, consisting of the award of fees with a maintenance grant (currently &pound;17,668 in academic session 2022/23) for 4&nbsp;years.<br /> <br /> This opportunity is open to UK applicants only.&nbsp; All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in GREEN Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions:&nbsp; e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Liuquan Yang: e: <a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>