Development of Graphene/ceramic composites with damage self-monitoring capabilities at Cardiff …

Smart composite materials have become essential in 21st century lifestyle. We can find them in phone , diabetes , thermo-jackets or aircraft blades. Composite materials combine structural and functional capabilities and the recent integration of into ceramic and polymeric matrices could open new opportunities on the design novel composites. However, to materialize this goal we need to be able to design and build structures to take full advantage of graphene’s (monoatomic layer of carbon) unique properties, such as it being the material of highest electrical conductivity or electron mobility. In this project we shall use a bottom up strategy to design new graphene/ceramic composite materials. Taking inspiration from biomaterials hierarchical structures will be developed. We will explore graphene oxide (chemically exfoliated graphite) suspensions processing in order to build 3D graphene networks which in turn will serve as scaffolds to host ceramic and ceramic based materials. And we will take advantage of novel technical ceramic manufacturing routes such as freeze casting or to fabricate multi-materials and build devices The challenge is to design, build up, and evaluate a new composite with damage sensing capabilities. The goal “a novel composite with damage self-monitoring capabilities” would for instance save unexpected break-up stop costs in a broad range of applications from energy to transportation.

In this project a wide variety of skills and techniques will be developed and used. The first stage of the project will deal with characterization and processing of materials and different techniques such as particle size distribution, zeta potential, XRD, SEM, TEM among others will be used. Skills in wet processing of graphene and ceramics together with their shaping by 3D printing and/or freeze casting will also be acquired and thus fundamental learning in rheology will be developed. Finally the achievement of the new composite will also demand training in mechanical and electrical characterization. The project will establish external collaborations with the Centre of Advanced Structural Ceramics at Imperial College London, Queen Mary University London and collaborations with graphene and carbon based materials suppliers such as “GRAPHENEA” and “HAYDALE” may also arise. Moreover, across college collaborations may be also possible due to the multidisciplinary character of the research proposed. For instance Dr Wayne Nishio Ayre at Cardiff School of Dentistry will bring his experience in the design, development and testing of devices and biomaterials. His experience will help us to find new applications for the novel composite. Research on is carrying out At the School of Physics and Astronomy they are looking at Nanodiamond and nanocarbons and we will find support to understand and measure graphene properties at atomic scale.
The ground breaking materials and methods for material fabrication that will be developed within the scope and throughout the duration of this project will definitely contribute to the continuation of UK’s industrial competitiveness.

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first class degree or a good 2.1 and/or an appropriate Master’s level qualification (or their equivalent).

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)

Funding Notes

The studentship is funding through the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership and Cardiff School of Engineering. It consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£14,296p.a. for 2016/17, updated each year). Additional funding is available over the course of the programme and will covers costs such as research consumables, training, conferences and travel.

Eligibility: We welcome applications from both UK and EU applicants.


In the first instance interested applicants are invited to send a CV and covering email/letter to:

[email protected]


Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview after the closing date.

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