PhD Studentship: Lubrication of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Updated: about 5 hours ago
Location: Southampton, ENGLAND
Deadline: 07 May 2018

Project Themes: Materials & Surface Engineering, Energy and Climate Change, Transport


Hydrogen is the cleanest fuel available as its combustion product is water. This advantage has enabled Hydrogen technology to quickly establish itself as the technology of the future not only for fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) but also for other high energy consumption applications. Recently, British Government advisers’ have said that hydrogen technology is feasible for heating homes and businesses and it could help meet the UK green targets by 2050.  

For FCVs hydrogen technology is favored because it avoids the looming problems associated with storage and recyclability of used electric cars batteries and refueling takes no longer than with a petrol car enabling a travel range of 620 km. The Japanese car manufacturers, Toyota and Honda have already successfully launched the Mirai (2014) and Clarity (2016), two FCVs attaining exhilarating performance with fuel economy and unsurpassed comfort.

A long standing challenge of hydrogen technology is related to the atomic size of hydrogen which enables it to diffuse readily through the lattice of solid materials and cause catastrophic failure in high strength steels.  Embrittlement by hydrogen has been identified as a major consequence of hydrogen uptake and represents an extra challenge for lubricated tribological parts that are normally subjected to high stresses.  This study will investigate the influence of lubricant composition on preventing premature failure of bearing steel due to the ingress of hydrogen while achieving fuel economy and reduced wear of the components. The research will involve novel methods for investigating rolling contact fatigue, hydrogen embrittlement and the role of lubricants by employing a wide range of state-of-art technology. 

This is a unique opportunity not only to carry out doctoral studies and publish your research in high impact factor journals but also become one of the world’s leading specialist in lubrication of hydrogen technology. You will undertake interdisciplinary research in two of the world leading research centres, the National Centre of Advanced Tribology at University of Southampton, UK and the Hydrogenius Centre at Kyushu University, Japan under the supervision of international experts in the fields of lubrication, tribology, materials and hydrogen technology. 

Prospective candidates are preferred to have a first class degree (if the candidate has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, this applies to both) in mechanical engineering, chemistry or material science and to meet the English language entry requirements qualifications (a minimum IELTS level of 6.5 - with a minimum of 5.5 in each component). 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Monica Ratoi, nCATS research group, Email: m.ratoi@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 7160

To apply please use the following link http://www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/postgraduate/research_degrees/apply.page ?  and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.


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