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PhD Studentship - Fundamental Failure Investigations of Single Crystal Aeroengine Turbine Blades

Mechanical Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Wednesday 31 March 2021
Reference:  1322920DA

Supervisory Team:    P.A.S. Reed and N. Gao

 Project description

Rolls Royce are sponsoring an Industrial CASE award for four years, working on fundamental fatigue failure investigations in a range of aeroengine turbine blade systems.  Aeroengine safety is of course highly important to both aeroengine manufacturers, aircraft operators, and last but not least passengers!  Understanding what controls the fatigue processes, cracking rates and the crack paths taken in turbine blades is extremely important in both future blade design, but also in informing current inspection and repair approaches.  The PhD will be carried out at the University of Southampton as part of the Rolls Royce University Technology Centre in Sound and Vibration and will be based in the Engineering Materials Research Group within the Department of Mechanical Engineering.  These turbine blade materials typically experience a range of service temperatures, loads and environmental conditions in the aeroengine.  The interplay of these testing parameters in the single crystal nickel base superalloy turbine blade components offers a fascinating set of complex service failures that need detailed investigation and explanation.  Your PhD will focus on understanding how these complex cracking processes occur, and what controls these processes.  You will use advanced mechanical testing capabilities in our testing structures research laboratory (TSRL) to conduct high temperature mixed mode loading fatigue tests in a range of testing environments.  Post-test fractographic analysis will include scanning electron microscopy and the use of X-ray CT to evaluate crack tip processes in 3D in our state-of-the-art X-ray tomography centre (mVIS) which is also part of the National Research Facility in X-ray imaging.  As part of the CASE award you will also have a 3 month secondment at the Rolls Royce laboratories and throughout the project you will work closely with failure investigation specialists at Rolls Royce in Bristol and Derby.   As part of the UTC and the Engineering Materials Group you will be working as part of a close-knit group of researchers working under the supervision of Prof. P.A.S. Reed and will be part of a team working on failure mechanisms and modelling in a range of structural materials systems.

 If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Philippa Reed, Engineering Materials 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 March 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 £18,285-£19,285 tax-free per annum for up to 4 years. 

 How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor P.A.S. Reed 

 Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

 For further information please contact:

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