I want it yesterday! Advanced microwave assisted rapid materials ageing

This iCase award will develop an understanding of the degradation of polymers and composite materials.

Start date

1 October 2024


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source


Funding information

Full iCase award with additional funding for bench fees and training.


Time is a crucial factor affecting the selection and deployment of materials in aerospace, automotive and green power industries.

To ensure the highest quality of product, and to minimise the environmental impact of process waste, accelerated ageing studies are performed. These studies underwrite both the shelf life of chemical ingredients and the long-term performance of the manufactured part.

Classical ageing trials require isothermal heating of materials over several months, together with periodic chemical and mechanical analysis, which drives long delays into the selection and deployment process.  Thus, we are exploring the novel use of modern technologies to rapidly age materials to varying levels of degradation.

This PhD will focus on the initial setup and validation of microwave based rapid ageing methodologies to underwrite the life of process chemicals. You will explore how microwaves influence degradation chemistry, develop real time ageing relationships and enhance your personal capability through the generation and comparison of a broad suite of analytical characterisation data. 

Your professional and personal development is a priority during your doctorate and this AWE sponsored EPSRC ICASE funded PhD will drive in significant development. You will be a part of the Surrey/AWE Centre of Excellence in Materials Ageing, Performance and Lifetime Prediction, working closely with our other students and research fellows. 

The PhD boasts fully funded annual international conference attendance to enhance your personal influence and scientific network, in addition to providing local training events and strong networking support from industrial sponsors. This is all in addition to support from the University’s Doctoral College and the annual Centre of Excellence conference.   

Eligibility criteria

Open to UK nationals only.

The ideal candidate will have an understanding of organic chemistry and materials as they relate to polymers and an interest in analytical chemistry (specifically mass spectrometry).

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our Chemistry PhD programme.


How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Chemistry 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

Patrick Sears
11 AZ 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689580
E-mail: p.sears@surrey.ac.uk

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