M2A

Studies of Coatings, Lifetime and Circular Economy of Resin-Wood Composites

Key Information

Supervisors: Prof P Holliman, Dr K Perkins and Dr A Pitman.

Wood is a sustainable resource. In making commercial products, resin-composites, coating and metal fixings are often used to enhance mechanical and lifetime properties as well as functionality. The resultant product therefore is a hybrid or composite material. 

The project aims to develop a closed-loop manufacturing process where materials and energy input into the process are optimised, and the product can be fully recycled at the end of its lifetime, into useful materials for further use. 

Industrially, resins form a crucial part of composite wood materials. Whilst curing resins is typically chemically and/or thermally driven, scaled curing will always be complicated by mass and energy transfer. A key aim is to control the resin cure at a cost and scale which is commercially viable, whilst maintaining the desired product form. 

Wood composites are joined together using adhesives and/or metal fixings. The fixings and then material itself, must have commercially acceptable operational lifetimes and hence this project will also study material lifespan. 

The Research Engineer will:

  • Investigate thermal behaviour of resin-wood composites, to fully understand the resin curing in composite substrates.
  • Ion situ metrology will be studied against a programme of manufacturing optimisation. Data will be correlated with process variables to understand how these affect curing and resin-wood interactions, and in turn the resulting product parameters.
  • Product lifetime will be tested under accelerated weathering and coatings will be developed to enhance operational lifespan of the product.

Material recycling will be studied using chemical and thermal treatments.

Swansea university is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.  

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committee to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.

Sponsoring Company Lignia Ltd
Eligibility

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers. 

To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

  • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
  • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding. 

To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

  • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
  • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
  • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.
Funding

Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years.

Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years.

Closing Date 15 March 2019

Start Date October 2019


Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk