Investigation into the impact of material properties on the gas transport behaviour of polyolefin materials

During manufacture and storage, polymeric materials are exposed to different environments that can affect their long-term performance. In this research, the effect of material properties on gas/vapour transport through the polymer, and the effect on long term ageing for predictive modelling will be studied. This project is sponsored by AWE.

Start date

1 October 2024


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding information

Funding covers a stipend of £20,000 pa (tax free) and UK “home” tuition fees for 3.5 years. Funding is available to cover travel, conferences, and consumables. 


The sustainable use of polymeric materials is underpinned by ensuring long service life in all industries and applications. Understanding durability requires research into the effects of both manufacturing methods and environmental storage conditions on the material properties and performance over time. 

The aim of this project is to understand how the properties of polyolefins (such as polyethylene and polypropylene), affect the gas/vapour transport properties, with a particular focus on the degree of crystallinity and degree of oxidation. The scope of this project would be to design a methodology for capturing material property and gas transport data, gather data on these materials and subsequently build up an understanding of the relationships between the material properties and the solubility and diffusion of gases/vapours.

This project will investigate and develop methodologies for understanding the key relationships between fundamental materials properties (degree of crystallinity, extent of oxidation etc), and gas/vapour diffusion and solubility. The transport of water and oxygen are of particular interest due to their presence during manufacture and storage. The effect of exposing a material to either of these species is likely to affect its onward behaviour, and data on these processes will support predictive modelling.

The PhD student will be a part of the Surrey/AWE Centre of Excellence in Materials Ageing, Performance and Lifetime Prediction, working closely with our other students, research fellows and industrial sponsors. Your professional and personal development is a priority for us during your doctorate. Funding is also available for training events and international conference attendance is encouraged. This is in addition to support from the University’s Doctoral College and our annual Centre of Excellence conference.

Eligibility criteria

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

Candidates must meet Surrey graduate entry requirements which include holding at least an upper second-class degree or equivalent qualifications in a relevant subject area such as mechanical engineering, physics, materials science, or chemistry. A Masters degree in a relevant discipline and additional research experience would be an advantage.

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

Jasmine Bone

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