PhD Position in Lubricants under Electrification

University of Southampton School of Engineering

United Kingdom

PhD Studentship - Lubricants under electrification

Mechanical Engineering
Location: Highfield Campus
Closing Date: Monday 31 May 2021
Reference: 1347521DA
Supervisory Team: Prof. Ling Wang

Project description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship working on the Butterflies and White Etching Cracks in Bearing Steels research project. The PhD student will join a world-leading research team based within the national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS) at the University of Southampton, a member of the Russell Group and ranked in the world’s top 100 Universities. nCATS is a multidisciplinary tribology centre, aspired to research and solve next-generation tribological design issues and enable surface interactions to occur with minimal energy loss and impact on the environment. Tribology is core to the future transport and energy-efficient machines.

While the zero emissions and energy efficiency advantages of electric cars compared with conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs) are being realised by many manufacturers and users due to the rapid cost reduction of batteries, technical challenges in the new transmission systems for these vehicles are emerging. Electric vehicles (EVs) contain motors that rotate at speeds of over 10,000rpm, which is much higher than the conventional ICEs (max. 6000rpm), causing issues related to high centrifugal forces and demanding heat transfer rate at interfaces. Stray electric current has been recognised as a potential threat to bearings in EVs due to current leakage in motors that may lead to severe bearing damages and premature failures. Greases and lubricants sufficiently lubricating ICE bearings are facing new challenges when move to electric motor driven cars, especially related to thermal and electrification issues. Parallel to an existing study on the influence of electrification on rolling contact fatigue, this PhD study focuses on the evaluation of the influence of electrical currents and excess heat on lubricants experienced in EVs. Experiments will be conducted to assess dependences of lubricant electric and thermal properties on bearing operation parameters (e.g. load, speed and electric current). Results from this study will provide a useful tool for new lubricant development especially for EVS.

The funding available is competitive and will only be awarded to an outstanding applicant. As part of the selection process, the strength of the whole application is taken into account, including academic qualifications, personal statement, CV and references. Applicants should have a good first degree in mechanical engineering subject. Ideally the candidate should have some experience in engineering material and a strong interest in bearing tribology to apply. It is planned to start the project in 2021, preferably no later than October.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Ling Wang, nCATS Research Group, Email:

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 May 2021 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Apply online. programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 you should insert the name of the supervisor Ling Wang

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact:


In your application, please refer to


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