PhD (DPhil) Research Studentship in Impact Response of Polymers

Project: IMPRESS: Impact Modelling of Polymers: high-Rate Experiments for Solid-state Simulations

3.5-year D.Phil. studentship 
Supervisor: Professor Clive Siviour

This studentship is part of a joint project between the Universities of Oxford and Nottingham, funded by the Dutch Polymer Institute. The main focus of the project is to develop a deeper understanding of the behaviour of engineering polymers and composites under impact loading, and to develop models for this behaviour.

Polymers and composites are often used in products exposed to impact events; e.g. car bumpers, mobile phone cases or bike helmets. However, their behaviour during impact is not well understood, which prevents us from optimising the material properties and structural design. The final products are therefore heavier or less effective than they could be. This project will develop new methods for measuring the response of polymers to impact, and for modelling and designing polymer structures. In the future, it will allow us to produce high performance, recyclable, polymers that are optimised to work efficiently in different impact applications.

This doctoral project will focus on experimental characterisation of the polymer and composite systems, using state of the art thermomechanical and impact facilities at the University of Oxford. Working alongside a post-doctoral researcher in Oxford, the student will build on experimental capabilities developed at the university over the past decade, and will have the opportunity to extend and improve these techniques. The data obtained will feed into the development of novel models at Nottingham University, and the student will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the modelling process that will complement their experimental expertise.

The student will be a member of a research team with a strong pedigree in high strain rate characterisation of materials, and the development of novel testing techniques.


This studentship is funded by the Dutch Polymer Institute. It is open to students of any nationality; however, fees are only paid at the home / EU rate: overseas students will need to find additional funding to pay the difference between this and the overseas fee.
Award Value

Course fees are covered at the level set for UK/EU students (c. £7665 p.a.). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £18000 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class honours degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, Physics or Materials Science
  • A strong, demonstrable interest in mechanical response of materials, or polymer engineering
  • Good programming skills
  • Excellent experimental skills, and an interest in practical research
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Familiarity with CAD and Finite Element Methods
  • Experience of high strain rate or impact characterization of materials

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Clive Siviour.

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria. Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote 19ENGIN_CS in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application Deadline

Noon on 23 August 2019

Start Date

October 2019 or January 2020