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Assessing the Life Cycle Performance of Vehicle Brake Rotors


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Wednesday 1 July 2020
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Professor David Barton
School of Mechanical Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Different types of brake discs are available for road vehicles, from conventional cast iron to the emerging lightweight materials, such as coated aluminium. There is a growing demand for lightweight brake discs for environmental reasons, such as less fine particle emissions, reduced vehicle weight (e.g. by 50%) and cost of ownership. Hard coatings, applied by laser deposition welding or plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO), are commonly used to reduce the overall wear of the friction pair (brake disc and brake pad), and to decrease corrosion. The share of PM10 and PM2.5 from exhaust emissions will decrease in future, thanks to advancement in engine and fuel technologies. In comparison, the accountability of non-exhaust emissions (e.g. brake wear and tyre wear) will be higher, which needs the attention of policy makers. Previous studies found that the PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), considered as being most harmful to human health due to their carcinogenic properties, are present in the dust emitted from brakes. In addition, nanoscale iron oxide particles have been linked to the development of brain disorders such as Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease. Lightweight brake discs are particularly welcome on electric vehicles, whose additional weight compared to conventional vehicles powered by fossil fuels, demand higher traction energy and cause deterioration to roads. To measure and characterise the brake wear debris, laboratory experiments will need to be carried out on different types of brake discs when retrofitted in vehicles, using a newly developed test rig available at University of Leeds. Additional benefit of enhanced corrosion resistance of coated aluminium brake rotors will be tested in a corrosion cabinet, which simulates corrosive road environment, such as during winter maintenance activities (e.g. salt spreading).

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

<p><strong>Method and Scope</strong></p> <p>Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a holistic approach able to study the many impacts of using alternative brake discs. It is expected that LCA modelling of brake rotors, in accordance with ISO14040 and potentially with the use of a commercial computer tool such as SimaPro, will be carried out. This will be followed by case studies to test and calibrate the model. The lifecycle will include the entire supply chain from raw materials extraction, transport, manufacturing, vehicle use, repairing service, to recycling or disposal scenarios.</p> <p>The results can be used for improving the non-exhaust emission estimates in vehicle emissions inventory generated by LCA studies of vehicles, which includes key environmental impacts such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and PM. Experimental data from characterisation of airborne brake wear debris and accelerated corrosion will make important inputs to establishing the lifecycle emission profile of brake discs. Measurements will be performed under different temperatures and disc speeds, and over sufficiently long periods to ensure the results can represent the braking system&rsquo;s behaviour within its design life. Strength and durability of the brake discs will be considered in defining the comparative products. Project will receive inputs from ongoing or recent projects funded by Innovate UK.</p> <p>The system boundary of LCA will be set to represent industry practice, and will be transparent such that different types of brake discs can be compared on a level-playing field. Methodological choices and the quality of data are known to affect the LCA results substantially. Sensitivity analysis will be carried out, for the &lsquo;hot-spot&rsquo; areas, to make the evaluation robust. Multi-objective optimisation approach, such as cost and environment, can follow the LCA results.</p> <p>A computer model with calculating tool might be an output of the project, with possibility for data update and methodology amendment, to make it forward compatible. The accountability and legislation regarding non-exhaust emissions will be higher in future, but currently there is no policy in place to regulate them.</p> <p>Project findings will help automobile manufacturers to make informed decisions about which braking system to choose. Reference will be made to the current industry practice, with an aim to improve key performance (e.g. cost, emissions) of the braking system. The results shall be relevant to climate change and air quality research also.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The earliest start date for this project is 1 October 2020.</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 in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Assessing the Life Cycle Performance of Vehicle Brake Rotors&rsquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Prof David Barton</a>&nbsp;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>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<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><strong>Self-Funding Students</strong></p> <p><strong>Funding Eligibility</strong></p> <p><strong>UK/EU</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;Leeds Doctoral Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available for previous graduates from the University of Leeds offering 10% discount on Academic Fees only.</p> <p><strong>International Students</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;China Scholarship Council-University of Leeds Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees for 3 years, Commonwealth PhD and Commonwealth Split-Site Scholarships for Low and Middle Income countries.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available for previous graduates from the University of Leeds offering 10% discount on Academic Fees only.</p>

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

<p>For further information regarding your application,&nbsp;please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email:&nbsp;<a href="">p</a><a href=""></a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project,&nbsp; please contact Professor David Barton by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>