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Fully funded PhD studentship at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Hydrogen: Investigating the use of alternative fuel pumps designs for cleaner aviation


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Saturday 31 December 2022
Reference:  ENG1601

Fully funded PhD studentships at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Hydrogen: Investigating the use of alternative fuel pumps designs for cleaner aviation 

Do you want your PhD study to be part of a meaningful contribution towards a net-zero energy system?

Are you curious to discover how an energy research environment can be enriched through different perspectives from fellow researchers?

Can you contribute to the research and development of hydrogen-based solutions needed to meet the net-zero challenge?

An exciting PhD experience 

The Universities of Nottingham, Loughborough, Birmingham and Ulster have joined forces to become a national Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Hydrogen (SusHy CDT). The SusHy CDT is collaborating with over 40 companies and organisations to provide a new integrated PhD experience. You will join a multidisciplinary team of PhD researchers, supervised by world leading experts, with access to excellent research facilities across the Universities and our collaboration partners.

At the SusHy CDT, we recruit people with high academic ability and we aim to create a gender-balanced multidisciplinary team from a broad range of races, cultures, and social backgrounds. We are interested in your life experience, because we know there are too many technologies that unintentionally fail sections of the population (e.g. smart technologies developed using biased datasets). We believe listening to different perspectives can inform and improve our research. Diversity in our staff, partners and students helps us to challenge theories and improve understanding in order to design optimal hydrogen-based solutions. Being willing to share your insights is crucial to achieving a vibrant and creative research environment, contributing to the shared aim of investigating hydrogen innovations to meet the global energy challenge

Investment in you

The integrated PhD in Sustainable Hydrogen is a 4-year programme which, in addition to your research project, will include a combination of taught skills and experiential learning. The training programme we offer will support you throughout your PhD journey, providing the multidisciplinary training you’d expect, but also developing entrepreneurial, managerial and project skills along with the skills needed to communicate your ideas to a wide range of audiences. In addition, we provide opportunities to develop your skills through industrial secondments, outreach activities, industry challenge events and writing retreats. The SusHy community looks to support you by providing advice and guidance before starting your PhD and we have a Buddy Scheme to help you transition to PhD life. SusHy also offers free membership to our partner organisations, the Women’s Engineering Society and Women in Science and Engineering, and new female students will have a stakeholder mentor, who will be able to share her valuable insights.

Project Specification

With the continuing drive towards cleaner aviation in recent years, there have been active investigations into alternatives to traditional aviation fuel. Liquid hydrogen is one of the leading candidates as identified by a recent (March 2022) report from the Aerospace Technologies. Fuel pumps have traditionally used fuel-lubricated bearings including plain bearings and rolling-element bearings. These bearings face very specific challenges with liquid hydrogen due to the very low temperatures, low viscosity, low density, the tendency to cause brittleness of the bearing materials and the possible chemical effects that might exist.  

This PhD project sets out to investigate the selection and engineering design of bearings suitable for use in liquid hydrogen pumps. Such pumps have been used in rockets for decades but the rocket applications require an active service life measured only in minutes. This work will explore both the customisation of conventional bearing designs and the development of novel bearing designs suitable for service within a fuel pump that could operate at the required loads and rotational speeds whilst also having a long operational life spaces (>10,000 hours). It is expected that the study will embrace traditional fluid bearing designs (including plain journal bearings) as well as (electro-) magnetic bearings and it may also consider the possible exploitation of controllable unbalanced magnetic pull within an electrical machine to assist in managing bearing transverse loads. This project will be led by University of Nottingham supervisors Prof. Seamus Garvey and Dr. Benjamin Rothwell and in collaboration with Rolls-Royce PLC. 

Join our research community

The SusHy CDT studentship covers UK tuition fees and provides a tax-free stipend of £19,568 pa. Studentship eligibility criteria are defined by the EPSRC.

Candidates need to show in their application an ability equivalent to a 1st or 2(i) honours degree or a postgraduate Master’s with distinction in Engineering or Physical Sciences or a related discipline. Applications are welcomed from candidates who have taken a non-traditional route, for example those who may have spent time in industry and are looking to return to education. International applicants will need to meet the relevant English language requirements.

Take a look at the available research projects, the application process and discover more about the SusHy CDT. –

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