High temperature materials research for antenna applications

The design and performance assessment of candidate coatings for enhanced and new high temperature antenna applications.

Start date
1 October 2020
3.5 years
Application deadline
Funding source
The University of Surrey
Funding information

3.5 years of stipend at £20,000 per annum and all fees paid.


This project is concerned with the development of coatings for the protection of materials, used by Cobham Aerospace Connectivity, in the manufacture of their antenna systems.  Such materials cover a wide range and include polymers, composites, and ceramics.  As operational temperatures increase, as they are expected to in the future, so the issue of overheating during flight becomes of significant concern to designers. One approach to mitigate this problem is the use of ablative coatings that are gradually eroded during flight, a particularly attractive proposition for one trip aerospace components, but also worthy of investigation for fast/high flying jet aircraft.  The project will initially focus on the design and performance of candidate coatings for a variety of substrates.  In the latter stages the adhesive bonding characteristics of such coatings will also be investigated to assess ease of integration into current and future build programmes.

One part of this research may be to assess the ablative properties of a chosen coating. The research has scope to consider the adhesive bonding properties of such substrate materials and coatings before and after thermal exposure.

Future product applications include: high temperature conformal radomes for antennas, thermal protection schemes for high temperature antennas, improved survivability of bonded joints and seals. These will be explored in platform systems such as missiles and rockets, as well as high performance fast jets.

The research programme will include: (i) research and review of existing technologies and where further innovation could be applied, (ii) working with suppliers and manufacturers of materials and coatings, (iii) CFD simulation (thermal and aerodynamic, (iii) physical tests to replicate temperature application, (iv) characterisation of materials and coatings using physical tests (tensile test, lap shear and peel tests).

These facilities at Cobham Aerospace Connectivity include a large Engineering development department, a development model shop, and environmental test facilities.

Related links
MiNMaT (Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies)

You will spend most of the programme time at the sponsor base in Marlow, Bucks. The sponsor is Cobham Antenna.

Eligibility criteria

This project requires a First, Upper Second, or merit at Masters in a physical sciences subject.

UK or EU students only. Please note we are not funded for international students.

IELTS: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with at least 7.0 in the writing component and at least 6.0 in the other components.

How to apply

Please contact the Centre Manager, Noelle Hartley, in the first instance to lodge an expression of interest in the project.

The Centre does not accept direct applications – it is important to contact the Centre Manager to discuss your interest at the earliest opportunity.

This project is part of the EPSRC CDT in MiNMaT.

References are taken up at interview stage.

University reserves the right to close the advert if a suitable candidate is found.

Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies (MiNMaT)

Application deadline

Contact details

Noelle Hartley
05 AB 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683467
E-mail: N.Hartley@surrey.ac.uk

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