PhD Studentship:Steel development for next generation jet engines

Department of Mechanical Engineering

UCL, Gower Street, London, UK


  • Posted on: 13th Jan 2022
  • Funding amount: Funding Available
  • Funding for: EU Students, International Students, UK Students
  • REF: 1881187
  • Closes: 30th April 2022
  • Hours: Full Time

Vacancy Information

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is funding a 4-year PhD Studentship: Steel development for next generation jet engines.

Studentship Description

This project will combine novel computational and experimental activities to study the fatigue response of advanced case-hardened gear steels; this understanding will be used to design new materials and microstructures with improved mechanical performance.

The work will involve developing micromechanical Finite Element-based models incorporating effects of the changing microstructure along a gears case and core to predict steels fatigue response. Experimental work will include mechanical testing of materials having different microstructural conditions, Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy (SEM and TEM) and diffraction to validate the models and provide insights of the deformation mechanisms operating during cyclic loading.

Specifically for SEM, the successful candidate will be encouraged to learn and use advanced Electron Microscopy techniques, such as Transmission Kikuchi Diffraction, to identify key microstructural changes and texture at the nano-scale. Machine Learning shall also be used to design what combinations of microstructural features and gears carbon profiles lead to improvements in fatigue life.

Person Specification

Rolls-Royces next generation Ultrafan jet engine has been developed to meet the challenging demands of significantly reducing CO2, NOx and noise emissions in current and future aircraft


A key technological breakthrough has been the development of a power gearbox considerably increasing the bypass ratio, therefore requiring less fuel consumption -irrespective of the fuel constituents. However, an aeroengines power gearbox demands extreme service conditions, where gears are subject to very high contact stresses, very high speeds and high contact temperatures, and no material has ever been tested under such harsh environments.

Case-hardened high-performance steels are ideal materials for this application due to their excellent wear and fatigue performance, but it is not known whether existing alloys can be optimised for the more demanding conditions, specifically under bending fatigue. Therefore, it is necessary to improve our fundamental understanding of the deformation mechanisms in advanced steels such that the gears fatigue life can be successfully improved.


This funding is available to UK, EU, and overseas students. The funding for fees is capped at home-rates. Students not qualifying for home-rate fees should be able to provide matching funding.

Eligible applicants should first contact Dr Enrique Galindo-Nava ( quoting the job reference.

Please enclose a cover letter (including the names and contact details of two referees), one-page research statement and two pages CV.

The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After the interview, the successful candidate will be required to formally apply online via the UCL (University College London) website.

Contact name

Enrique Galindo-Nava

Contact details

UCL Taking Action for Equality

Closing Date

30 Apr 2022

Latest time for the submission of applications


Interview date


Studentship Start Date

26th September 2022

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