Research Studentship in Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering

Project: Rapid characterisation of irradiation-induced dimensional change

3.5-year DPhil studentship, fully funded
Supervisors: Professor Felix Hofmann & Dr Andrew London

We are seeking a DPhil student to work on the development of rapid approaches for characterising irradiation-induced dimensional change. This exciting project will be jointly supervised by Professor Hofmann at Oxford's Department of Engineering Science, and Dr Andrew London at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. For EU/UK applicants full funding for university fees and stipend is available.

Nuclear fission and fusion power are attractive long-term energy sources with little carbon footprint. Structural materials in future reactors will be exposed to intense irradiation environments and extreme temperatures. These conditions can bring about dramatic changes in the mechanical and physical properties of the materials used. Formation of irradiation-induced defects also leads to dimensional change, i.e. a swelling or contraction of the material. This is very important as it may lead to large stresses, which in turn may reduce the fatigue life of critical components.

The goal of this project is to develop new techniques to rapidly assess the evolution of irradiation-induced dimensional change as a function of irradiation temperature and dose. This is very important for the rapid testing of new candidate alloy systems proposed for structural reactor components. These new tools will be combined with electron and X-ray microscopy to shed light on the link between macroscopic dimensional change and the underlying irradiation-induced defects.

The DPhil student will spend time working at the Oxford Engineering Department, as well as at the Material Research Facility (MRF) at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. They will be part of a vibrant research environment interacting with colleagues in both Solid Mechanics and Nuclear Materials research communities.

Further information about:


This studentship is funded in part by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) through CCFE, and in part by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership. Full funding for fees and stipend is available for UK and EU students.

Award Value

Course fees are covered at the level set for UK/EU students (c. £7970 p.a.). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £15009 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 in Engineering, Physics, Materials Science, or another relevant discipline
  • Excellent written and spoken English communication skills
  • Strong mathematical skills
  • Willingness to travelling to international collaborators and science facilities for experimental work (expenses will be covered)

The following skills are desirable:

  • Ability to program (e.g. in Matlab, Fortran or Python)
  • Enthusiasm for experimental work

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Felix Hofmann or Dr Andrew London.

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 20ENGMM_FH in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application Deadline

PAST - 3 March 2020

Start Date

October 2020