Assessment of aluminium alloys anodised with tartaric sulphuric acid

AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) currently use chromic acid anodising for passivating aluminium alloys to provide corrosion protection for a range of applications across site. However, chromic acid contains hexavalent chromium which is restricted therefore, alternative chemicals are required that ensure aluminium alloys meet the process specifications.

Start date

1 October 2022


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

University of Surrey and AWE

Funding information

Fully funded for UK fees. Stipend of £17,000 and University of Surrey fees met for duration of studentship.


AWE currently uses chromic acid anodising for passivating aluminium alloys to provide corrosion protection in a range of applications. Chromic acid anodising, however, gives rise to waste hexavalent chromium which is restricted under the European Union’s REACH Regulations. Alternative anodising treatments are therefore required.

This novel research programme is an evidence-based approach to develop anodised coatings that are fit for purpose in terms of key material properties, e.g. corrosion resistance, mechanical robustness, electrical breakdown voltage, coating adherence, and radiation hardness. The morphology and microstructure of the anodised layer will be analysed with various electron microscopy methods. Other techniques will be used to study the composition and surface chemistry of the coatings. The performance of the coatings will be assessed as a function of processing parameters, i.e. time, temperature, pH, and voltage. This experimental data will enable the coating performance to be related to the anodised layer’s microstructure and composition.

Find out more about postgraduate research with the Centre for Engineering Materials.

Your personal development is a priority for us during your doctorate. £1,000 per annum is available for training events and conference attendance. This is in addition to our Doctoral College’s researcher development programme and our annual centre conference. Plus our network of sponsors, who support our annual conference, help you find the next step after your doctorate.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates must have a First or Upper second in a physical sciences subject.

This studentship is for UK candidates only.

How to apply

If you are interested in this project, please contact Noelle Hartley in the first instance by emailing A formal application will also need to be submitted the Engineering Materials PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab. Please state clearly the studentship project that you would like to apply for and the name of your intended supervisor.

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Application deadline

Contact details

Noelle Hartley
05 AB 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683467

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