Predictive molecular models of high-performance elastomers in demanding environments

Reference number: CCPR116


High-performance elastomers enable some of the most sophisticated modern technology. They are designed to operate in the often-punishing environments such as those encountered in aerospace industries. A sudden material failure in such applications can be catastrophic and direct material testing in these environments is prohibitively expensive or entirely unfeasible. Consequently, one of the highest priorities in the field is to develop general quantitative means of predicting how materials properties of elastomers, particularly their moduli, change under diverse practically relevant thermomechanical loads, i.e., at high and fluctuating temperatures accompanied by large or repeated deformations.

The project will create a suite of such predictive models by building on the world-leading experimental and computational tools developed in the Boulatov group to study mechanochemistry of polymers in complex environments (e.g., Nature Chem. 2023, 15, 1214; Nature Commun. 2022, 13, 3154, Science 2017, 357, 299). This collaboration with a leading engineering company offers a highly-motivated student a unique opportunity to gain expertise across the range of disciplines that enable contemporary materials science, and to learn how to integrate rigorous academic research with application-focused industrial R&D in the design and application of high-value-added polymers.

A student with research and academic background in experimental or computational physical chemistry; polymer chemistry, physics or engineering; chemical engineering; polymer rheology and/or tribology; or modeling at molecular and/or up to mesoscales would be well positioned to contribute to the project from the start. During their PhD, the student will be expected, and provided with technical, organisational, and intellectual support, to expand their expertise to other relevant fields beyond the area of their pre-PhD training. The student will coordinate their research activities and regularly exchange ideas and results with the industrial partners and other collaborators.

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form here: How to apply for a PhD - University of Liverpool

Please ensure you include the project title and reference number CCPR116 when applying.


Funding information

Funded studentship

The EPSRC funded Studentship will cover full tuition fees of £4,786 per year and pay a maintenance grant for 4 years, starting at the UKRI minimum of £19,237 pa. for 2024-2025. The Studentship also comes with access to additional funding in the form of a research training support grant which is available to fund conference attendance, fieldwork, internships etc. Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form.

EPSRC Studentships are available to any prospective student wishing to apply including international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise of international students and they will not be charged the fee difference between UK and international rate.

We want all our staff and Students to feel that Liverpool is an inclusive and welcoming environment that actively celebrates and encourages diversity. We are committed to working with students to make all reasonable project adaptations including supporting those with caring responsibilities, disabilities, or other personal circumstances. For example, if you have a disability, you may be entitled to a Disabled Students Allowance on top of your studentship to help cover the costs of any additional support that a person studying for a doctorate might need as a result.

We believe everyone deserves an excellent education and encourage students from all backgrounds and personal circumstances to apply.

We expect the position to be filled well before the formal deadline of 30 June 2024.