PhD Position in Coatings and Surface Engineering

University of Nottingham

United Kingdom


Location: UK Other
Closing Date: Wednesday 03 July 2024
Reference: ENG1766


Applicants are invited to undertake a 4 year, fully-funded PhD studentship within the Centre of Excellence in Coatings and Surface Engineering (CE-CSE) at the University of Nottingham and Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce produces aeroengines for civil and defence aerospace and the company is interested in environmental barrier coatings (EBCs) for the next generation of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components to achieve NetZero in aviation.

The PhD Project

The aerospace industry is committed to moving towards environmentally friendly solutions using space-age materials like CMCs, mainly made of silicon carbide (SiC) fibre in a SiC matrix. The CMCs only have a density of 3.21 g/cc, significantly improving weight and performance to reach NetZero in Aviation and hydrogen economy; however, CMCs rely extensively on a multi-layered coating system called EBC: a bottom layer of silicon and a top layer of ytterbium disilicate to protect them from steam. 

This PhD project will focus on the design and development of Brand new strategies for Surface Engineering and Coatings Solutions for CMCs, including using the UK’s only high power axial injection Suspension Plasma Spray (SPS), >1300 C temperature testing in flowing steam, coating characterisation with electron backscattered diffraction, transmission electron microscopes and Raman spectroscopy. SPS is a coatings deposition technique where material feedstock is injected in a plasma jet, melted, and accelerated towards a substrate, where it rapidly solidifies and forms a coating. This is a hugely exciting project for an enthusiastic researcher who wishes to forge an academic or industry career in the aerospace sector. 


This position is only open to UK students. The candidate must have at least an equivalent of a UK 2.1 class degree in materials/mechanical/ manufacturing/chemical engineering/physics/chemistry or any related discipline. This is an experimental research project, and the candidate is expected to spend the majority of the time at the University of Nottingham. Also, Rolls Royce will host the candidate for secondment. 


The PhD studentship will cover Full Home University tuition fees and a tax-free stipend of up to £23 k per annum for the duration of the project. 

Applications, with a detailed CV and a cover letter, together with the names and addresses of two referees, should be sent directly to Prof. Tanvir Hussain (  

In your application, please refer to


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