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Understanding of fatigue damages and their recovery

Reuse of metallic components at the end of their previous service is the most effective approach to increase resource efficiency and to mitigate environmental damage, and thus represents a preferred route to deliver full metal circulation. Reuse conserves all the embedded energy and other valuable resources used to manufacture components and keeps such energy and resources in the resource loop for much longer (slow down the loop). However, analogous to human beings, metallic components suffer from fatigue after prolonged service. It is estimated that more than 80% of metallic components at the end of their service have perfect physical dimensions but reduced mechanical performance due to the existence of flaws such as microcracks or corrosion-induced intergranular fissures, which all originate from fatigue.

Such used components can be effectively reused if the incipient cracks and sub-critical defects can be healed and the internal stresses accumulated during the service can be released without affecting the overall microstructure of the component. This PhD project aims to understand fatigue damages at a microstructural level and recovery of such fatigue damages.

The funding is £88,919 for a 4-year duration. 


The successful candidate is required to have a first-class or upper second-class honour degree in metallurgy, materials science or a related field of physical science or engineering etc. A Master’s level qualification is desirable but not essential.

How to apply

Please email (1) an up-to-date CV, (2) a single-page (A4), single-spaced personal statement setting out why you are interested in undertaking this project, (3) names and contact details of three referees, and (4) a copy of your highest degree certificate and transcript to isaac.chang@brunel.ac.uk

Meet the Supervisor for this Studentship

Professor Zhongyun Fan - Fan, a Professor of Metallurgy, is the Founder and Director of BCAST at Brunel University. He is the Principal Investigator/Director of the new EPSRC Future LiME Hub, which continues on from his role as the Principal Investigator/Director of the EPSRC Centre – LiME (2010-2015). The Future LiME Hub is a national centre of excellence in liquid metal engineering. He obtained his first degree in Metallurgy from University of Science and Technology Beijing and his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from University of Surrey. He started his academic career in 1997 at Brunel University, and prior to this he was a research fellow at University of Oxford and University of Surrey.

Meet the Supervisor for this Studentship

Professor Isaac Chang - Prof. Isaac Chang is the appointed Professor of Metallurgy & Materials and Head of LiME Training Centre. Prior to this, he was a Reader and Head of Education at School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham. He received his DPhil in Materials Science from University of Oxford (1991) and BSc(Eng) in Materials & Metallurgy from Imperial College, London University. He specializes in the field of physical and powder metallurgy, as well as nanotechnology and ceramic science. His research is focussed on the understanding of the relationship between processing, microstructure and properties of materials for industrial applications in transport, energy, healthcare, defence and electronic sectors. He was the first to discover the solid solution with a face centred cubic (FCC) crystal structure in an equiatomic FeCrCoNiMn alloy (the so-called Cantor alloy) in 2004 together with Prof. Brian Cantor, which has contributed to a brand-new field of materials science known as ‘High Entropy Alloys’ or ‘Multiple Principle Element Alloys’. He holds 7 patents and has published over 121 research papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. He is a Fellow of Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and a member of the editorial board for Journal of Materials, Chemistry and Physics. His current research interest includes muticomponent lightweight alloys, high entropy alloys, metallic glasses, nanocomposites, graphene, high throughput material processing for rapid alloy discovery and synthetic biology for advanced materials development.