PhD Studentship in Nanocarbon (Carbon Nanotube and Graphene) Reinforced Lightweight Metal Composites AE0003

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: London, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 21 Mar 2021

New lightweight alloys will reduce the mass of both road vehicles and aircraft, improving fuel efficiency, aiding electrification, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Both carbon nanotubes and graphene related materials offer exceptional intrinsic properties at very low densities; the challenge remains to manifest these properties at scale within nanoparticle-reinforced metals. This PhD project will focus on the key challenge: how to design an effective interface between nanocarbons and lightweight metal matrices (magnesium and aluminium) to maximise specific mechanical performance. The candidate will develop scalable methods to coat nanocarbon surfaces, controlling both surface chemistry and morphology, in order to facilitate practical melt processing. The resulting composite properties will be correlated to detailed multiscale microstructural analysis, using computational models under development by collaborators. Progress toward a practical technology will be accelerated by understand the underpinning interfacial interactions and active reinforcing mechanisms.

The project will directly benefit from the outstanding synthesis and computational facilities at the Department of Aeronautics, advanced microscopy facilities in the department of Materials Science and nanomaterials chemistry facilities in the newly built £150M Imperial Molecular Sciences Research Hub. The project will also benefit from international collaborations with Universities in e.g. Germany and China. The main work location will be the central London South Kensington campus next to Hyde Park offering an excellent setting for the project and for personal development in a variety of areas.

Applications are invited for a fully funded Ph.D. studentship in the field of surface design of nanocarbon and its lightweight metal composites including manufacturing and characterisation based in the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London. The project will be led by Dr Qianqian Li ( ), an expert in nano-reinforced lightweight metals, and co-supervised by Prof Milo Shaffer ( ), an international leader in the chemistry of nanocarbons.

Applicants should have a strong background in chemistry and chemical synthesis, as well as materials knowledge especially in metal materials. Experience with dispersion of nanoparticles is preferred. Candidates should have experience of extended research projects including a degree of autonomy. Applications are invited from candidates with (or who expect to gain) a first-class MEng/MSc degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Materials Science, or Chemical Engineering.

Funding is available for UK citizens. The studentship is for 3.5 years and will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £17,285.

Informal enquiries and requests for additional information for this post can be made to:
Dr. Qianqian Li via e-mail:

Should you have any queries regarding the application process please contact:

Ms. Lisa Kelly by e-mail:

To apply, please go to Meanwhile please also send your cover letter and CV in one pdf document to Dr. Qianqian Li via e-mail:

Deadline date: 21st March 2021

Start Date: ASAP

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