Fully-funded PhD Studentship in Metallurgy at University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge has an opening PhD position in metallurgy. The initial contract for this position is 5 years. This position is closed on March 31, 2020.

PhD Studentship: Powder Routes to Platinum Group Metal Doping of Nickel Superalloys for Extreme Environmental Operations

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship studying the effect of platinum additions to nickel-based superalloys. This studentship is fully funded for a student paying ‘home rate’ fees, and will run for up to 3.5 years from October 2020. It will be based in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge and will be run in close collaboration with Johnson Matthey*.

Nickel-based superalloys are widely used in the power generation and aviation industries for high temperature structural components. Efforts to develop new, more efficient products in these sectors to reduce emissions is constrained by the temperature capability of existing alloys. This is motivating the development of new alloys that can tolerate more hostile service conditions whilst simultaneously being amenable to processing by modern manufacturing routes. One approach by which this may be achieved is through additions of platinum group elements. Such additions are known to improve environmental resistance and mechanical performance, however, achieving the appropriate balance of properties, whilst maintaining suitable component cost remains to be established.

In this PhD studentship, powder-processed nickel-based superalloys with varying platinum additions will be fabricated by metal injection molding and hot isostatic pressing. The phase equilibria, microstructural stability, oxidation resistance and mechanical behaviour of the alloys will be characterised and the benefits of such additions will be assessed. This will require the extensive use of scanning and transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry, thermal analysis and mechanical testing. Limited thermodynamic modelling will also be required to rationalise the phase equilibria observed.

Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper second or first class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents) and should be should meet the EPSRC criteria for UK/EU residency and liability for ‘home rate’ fees.

*Johnson Matthey is an international FTSE 100 speciality chemicals company and a global leader in sustainable technologies. We apply our cutting-edge science, creating solutions with our customers that make a real difference to the world around us. Johnson Matthey employs around 13,000 people in over 30 countries.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3.5 years in the first instance.

The on-line application system is available at

Further information on the application process is available from Rosie Ward (

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.


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