This prestigious EPSRC iCASE (Industrial Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering) award, co-funded by the industrial partner, Siemens Energy Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd, provides a four-year fully-funded PhD studentship. The successful candidate will work within a multi-disciplinary team supported by both academic and industry supervision on research that aims to develop a slurry coating application technique for gas turbines which will increase blade operating temperature by 15 °C and that is environmentally compliant. This research involves laboratory work and has the option to spend time at the industrial partner, as well as the opportunity to present at key conferences in the field. Furthermore, this project has the potential to significantly impact power generation efficiency through the use of increased operational temperatures. Read more Read less

Energy efficient power generation is a current concern. To maximise energy from gas turbine generators, temperatures must be as high as possible, meaning that modern gas turbines need components with enhanced properties and life, potentially through the use of coating systems. Existing routes for coating large surface areas have limitations, such as being inherently costly and complicated, due to the equipment and process control required to repeatably produce the coatings. This program proposes the development of a next generation coating with enhanced properties, whilst simultaneously moving to a simpler and less expensive slurry process.

As such, this PhD project will address the following research objectives:

  1. Investigate various dip/submersion/paint application methods (which are versatile and cost effective) to determine a suitable coating methodology for further development.
  2. Develop slurry coating application techniques, ensuring that they are environmentally compliant (in line with European legislation; Cr6+ free/REACh compliant) and provide a simple NiAl structure compatible with existing chromium (for CrAl) and platinum (for PtAl) coatings. This will include investigating the effects of ‘hafnium and zirconium’ or ‘yttrium and zirconium’ on the coating, including their ability to promote alpha alumina scale growth and adherence.
  3. Assess the coating(s)’s capacity to be tailored to component requirements (e.g. application to different surface geometries; applying different coating composition across a single component; establishing a one step process to address different environmental issues).
  4. Characterize the coating properties (e.g. oxidation, corrosion, thermal stability, mechanical properties, lifing models), and benchmark against PtAl (targeting increased temperature capability).

Cranfield University is a unique learning environment with world-class programmes, unrivalled facilities and close links with business, industry and governments, all combining to attract the best students and teaching staff from around the world. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, 81% of research at Cranfield was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. Siemens Energy drives innovation, develops new technologies, applies cutting-edge manufacturing technologies - all to deliver the most advanced gas turbines that will set new standards in terms of efficiency, reliability and emission reduction. "Let’s make tomorrow different today" is Siemens Energy’s genuine commitment to customers and employees on the way to a sustainable future.

This PhD will develop a doped aluminide slurry and demonstrate the slurry’s properties with the intent of increasing gas turbine operating temperatures and, therefore, efficiency. If successful, the outcomes of this project will provide a potential slurry recipe that could be developed and deployed by the industrial sponsor, providing impact for the wider sector.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work alongside the industry sponsor and gain significant experience in industrial research and development as well as to present at conferences.

This research programme is technically challenging. The candidate will receive a significant level of technical training including design of experiments, a range of analytical skills, and other transferable skills (including presentation, organisational and project management). The combination of academic and industry contacts will be beneficial to the candidate’s learning experience, future employability and career development.

At a glance

  • Application deadline01 Aug 2022
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date05 Sep 2022
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSWEE0183

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit an applicant with materials science/engineering, mechanical/chemical engineering or chemistry as a background, particularly with experimental experience in coatings.


From the 2021/22 academic year UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding is open to both UK and International research students. Awards for both Home students and International students covers the UKRI home level tuition fee and provides a stipend at the standard UKRI rate. An Additional Fee Element may be chargeable to international students funded through UKRI at the home free rate. This will be advised by the supervisor on application.

Our Values

Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here. We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our equal opportunities and diversity monitoring has shown that women and minority ethnic groups are currently underrepresented within the university and so we actively encourage applications from eligible candidates from these groups.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact: 
Dr Joy Sumner
T: (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 4121   

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form.

For further information contact us today:
T: +44 (0)1234 758082