Due to the ongoing uncertainty with regards to Covid-19 we are following Swansea University policy and the M2A team are currently working from home. The M2A remains open and can be contacted via the usual phone number, email and social media channels. If you have applied for one of our projects the interview schedule may be affected. We will contact applicants in due course with further information.


Key Information

Supervisors: Dr R Lancaster and Prof M Whittaker

Join us for our Virtual Open Day on March 17th 2021 to discover more about the M2A and what we have to offer as a scheme.

Expected Interview Date: April 2021

The approach for the assessment of fatigue damage from cyclic variation of stress, strain and temperature as experienced in the hot section of a gas turbine uses the range of stress or strain and the maximum temperature attained in the cycle against which to predict the damage from fatigue curves. This results in a fatigue life based on an elastic prediction which is then assessed against the engine life requirements. Recent methods have proposed the generic use of analyses with plasticity and creep included to determine the relaxed stress and strain state with a revised fatigue damage assessment approach.

In the case of hot section components, the stress or strain may vary in-phase with the temperature, or there may be a phase difference which at its extreme would be completely out-of-phase with the temperature. This case occurs in a hotspot where the maximum temperature condition generates a significant compressive stress.

In other types of cycle where transient effects occur due to the boundary conditions of the external hot gas temperature and the internal cooling temperature combined with the mechanical loading due to rotational and gas loading forces, the peak stress or strain may develop on the rise or fall to the peak temperature condition, and would correspond to a much lower temperature than the peak.

Such components do have the added benefit of thermal barrier coatings, but to date, little understanding is currently available that truly captures how the mechanical behaviour differentiates across the two materials.

The work proposed in this project is to investigate thermo-mechanical fatigue damage in high temperature coated systems through a thorough review of existing data available on single crystal materials, to develop a TMF lifing model that can represent the true service behaviour observed including the influence of creep and oxidation that occurs at high stresses and temperatures, to validate this model with targeted TMF tests and to investigate the fracture behaviour of the TMF experiments in comparison with predicted stress fields from finite element models.

The work could investigate how damage is accumulated in a range of TMF cycles, predicting the first cycle and stabilised cycle responses under these conditions. The incremental accumulation of damage around the cycle may generate an understanding of the driving behaviours in TMF. In particular, a holistic knowledge of the damage evolution experienced In a counter-clockwise -135° cycle is of great interest. Research could also incorporate the use of PD crack monitoring and Digital Image Correlation (DIC) for advanced characterisation of the TMF behaviour.

The materials of choice would be the nickel based single crystal superalloys CMSX-3 and CMSX-4 with Pt arid PtAI coating systems.

TMF test data from Rolls-Royce would be made available in addition to that available from open literature.

Outline Plan:

  • Familiarisation with previous work, literature and fatigue data on TMF in single crystals, with particular emphasis on coated materials
  • Develop TMF testing capability and propose validation tests
  • Perform validation tests including fractographic studies
  • Demonstrate application to an engine component

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 providing top quality 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 opportunity 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. 

Sponsoring Company https://www.rolls-royce.com/

We welcome applications from candidates with an honours degree in a relevant discipline (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level.
Normally, we would expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application.
Full eligibility can be found at https://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility


Fees at UK/EU rate and Stipend £20,000.00, both for the period of four years.
For full details on funding eligibility, please refer to the Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) Website. Student Eligibility | M2A (materials-academy.co.uk)
Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to ‘International’ candidates.

Closing Date 5 April 2021

Start Date October 2021

Download Application Pack

Applications and informal enquiries about this studentship should be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk