Enabling a sustainable future for composite assets in demanding environments through a validated lifetime predictive methodology

The vision of this project is to develop relevant accelerated ageing methods for fibre reinforced polymer composite materials in marine and offshore environments and therefore validate numerical tools for life prediction modelling.

Start date

1 October 2023


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding information

The studentship will provide a stipend of £20,000 per annum and tuition fees for 3.5 years.


The ongoing need for lightweight, corrosion resistant, low maintenance structures in environmentally challenging applications in renewable energy (e.g., wind turbines), has led to an increased use of advanced polymer composites. Despite their evident advantages, there are technical challenges that the sector needs to solve to maximise their benefits and increase their uptake and sustainable use. E.g., a validated methodology for the way composites age environmentally and how their properties change with time under realistic synergetic conditions, is yet to be established. This project will contribute to the development of such a methodology by developing and validating predictive modelling tools through realistic (i.e., application informed) lab-based accelerated ageing experiments, considering appropriate degradation mechanisms, and most importantly demonstrating the approach for cases of mechanical loading with the synergetic presence of high humidity environments. The research will initially focus on defining an appropriate accelerated ageing strategy and in-depth investigation of the degradation mechanisms.

The boundaries of the accelerated approach will be drawn and the experimentally obtained datasets will provide the basis for validation of a numerical tool for predicting lifetime of composites when more than one synergetic degradation agents are acting on the material. The research work aligns with EPSRC’s Engineering Net Zero strategic priority under the Advanced Materials theme. The outputs will provide the means to increase efficiency across all greenhouse gas emitting, resource consuming and polluting systems and sectors that utilise advanced composites.

This project is jointly funded by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), and the successful candidate will have access to facilities, training, and support through both the University of Surrey and NPL’s Postgraduate Institute.

Eligibility criteria

Open to candidates who pay UK/home rate fees. See UKCISA for further information.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Engineering Materials PhD programme page. In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for and the name of the relevant supervisor.

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Application deadline

Contact details

Andrew Viquerat
15 AB 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686267
E-mail: a.viquerat@surrey.ac.uk

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