Viscoelastic damping of vibrations that occur in space flight

The development of methods of measuring, modelling, and tailoring the behaviour of viscoelastic polymer materials at high frequencies and over a range of temperatures for damping vibrations that occur in space flight.

Start date

1 October 2020


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

The University of Surrey

Funding information

3.5 years of stipend at £17,000 per annum and all  fees paid.


During flight vibrations up to 2000 Hz may be experienced. These vibrations can affect the behaviour of sensitive components and potentially the overall flight characteristics of the system. The purpose of this research will be to develop methods of measuring, modelling, and tailoring the behaviour of viscoelastic polymer materials at high frequencies and over a range of temperatures.

Materials of interest include filled composites, rigid foams, soft rubber foams, silicone pottings, and adhesives. The response of the materials may be tailored perhaps by altering the molecular structure or perhaps by the use of additives such as fillers, or by varying the level of cure/polymerisation of the materials used to form the damper.

This project constitutes an internal collaboration at the University of Surrey between the Centre for Engineering Materials and Structures and the Surrey Space Centre, combining a wide pool of expertise and resources, including vacuum, thermal and vibration testing facilities, as well as SEM, XPS, STEM, and tof-SIMS. Facilities also available at Surrey outside the two departments mentioned include DMA and DSC to perform full characterisation of the thermo-mechanical properties of the polymers at coupon level, and to perform curing studies if necessary.

It is envisioned that this project will interface with a Centre of Excellence in Ageing Testing at Surrey at a later stage to establish how the materials developed perform over time (changes in density, elasticity, crosslinking) in various environments, including vacuum.

Related links

MiNMaT (Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies)

Students will spend a lot of time with the sponsor who is based at Barry, near Cardiff South Wales.

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

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