Energy materials

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

The OU Materials Engineering Group research into Energy materials falls into two main categories: materials research for nuclear and conventional power station applications; nanoscale and surface engineering.

Materials used in conventional and nuclear power generation experience some of the harshest operating environments imaginable. The Materials Engineering Group has a wide range of characterisation equipment suitable for this class of material, including state-of-the-art electron microscopy, thermal cycling and creep facilities and non-contact strain measurement equipment. Most projects in this research area are undertaken in close collaboration with UK and European industry or as part of large European consortia.

Nanoscale energy and surface engineering focuses on energy harvesting and storage materials, paying particular attention to surface engineering of 2D materials such as Graphene, boron nitride and Molybdenum oxide/sulphides for PV and batteries/hydrogen energy applications. Synchrotron based techniques from US, UK and European facilities are used to address key fundamental challenges in these materials.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English

Potential research projects

Project areas are available depending on funding, but we would expect to recruit in the following general areas:

  • Multiscale characterisation of creep deformation of materials for fusion reactor
  • Residual stresses in next generation nuclear power plant
  • Low temperature transformation martensitic weld fillers for repair welding of large power plant components
  • Study of creep cavitation using correlative analysis

Current/recent research projects

  • Development & Realisation of Economical Methods for Recycling Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Graphene assisted low cost energy efficient solar cells
  • Smart nanomaterials for flexible supercapacitors
  • Graphene composites for fuel cells
  • Spatially resolved digital image correlation applied to creep strain characterisation in power plant weldments EBSD as a tool for creep damage quantification in power plant steels
  • Using HRDIC to study the micromechanics of polycrystal deformation
  • Correction of microstructural aberrations in Neutron Diffraction strain measurements in Power plant structures
  • Structural Integrity of additively manufactured metal parts for repair and build of an extra-terrestrial nuclear reactor

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £15,698 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £7,849 per year

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Power station

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Salih Gungor, Senior Lecturer in Materials Engineering
Email: stem-ei-phd
Phone: +44 (0)1908 655799

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.