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PhD Studentship - Development of a PMMA- ZrO2 core shell composite for the next generation bone cement

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Monday 31 August 2020
Reference:  1193419DA

Supervisor:                 Dr. Richard Cook

Co-supervisor             Prof. Andrew Hector, Prof. Martin Browne

Project description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded industrially sponsored multidisciplinary PhD aiming to develop a new bone cement formulation for use in orthopaedic surgery. This PhD is an industry backed collaboration between the School of Engineering and the School of Chemistry. 

The radiopacifier in current PMMA bone cements has been identified as the initiation point for fatigue failure of the cement mantle and also a main factor in the generation of stem surface damage in vivo, causing early failure of prostheses.

The projects aim is to develop a new route of making PMMA bone cement radiopaque, which can eliminate the current fatigue and stem damage risks. The project will initially focus on the development of a production route for the manufacture of a PMMA- ZrO2 core shell composite pre-polymerized bead. Once established, the project will concentrate on the optimisation of the new cement formulation. The composite bead content of the cement will be adjusted to provide the optimum balance between the required radiopacity and the fatigue and tribological performance of the cement to verify the enhancements in properties compared to current commercial cements.

The project will provide the candidate with access and training on a range of specialist chemical and mechanical characterisation techniques and facilities at Southampton.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Richard Cook, nCATS Research Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 592164

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 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,009 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online here selecting “PhD Engineering and Environment (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Richard Cook under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 

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