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School of Engineering and Materials Science Research Studentships

EPSRC iCASE studentship in Lifetime Prediction of Elastomer Composites

Supervisors: James BUSFIELD

Application Deadline: 31-01-2021

Development of predictive lifetime models for elastomer composites

An EPSRC iCASE funded PhD studentship opportunity has arisen based in the Soft Matter Group in the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London. The project collaborates with Schlumberger, the world’s leading supplier of technology, integrated project management and information solutions to the energy industry.

The PhD project will develop predictive lifetime models for elastomer composites used in drilling tools for the oil and gas industry as well as tools used in geothermal drilling operations. Elastomers are used as dynamic and static seals which are subjected to very large strains and rapid cyclical loading under extreme environments. Improving the performance of these components requires a detailed understanding of the relevant behaviour that occurs under representative operational conditions. This will enable us to both accurately predict operational lifetime and additionally provide an input into the design of new sealing technologies. Changes in the mechanical properties of elastomers will be characterised experimentally, fitted to new and emerging constitutive models and implemented in numerical simulations to build accurate models.

The project suits graduates from a chemistry, chemical engineering, engineering or materials science background. The project will comprise experimental studies at QMUL (supervised by Prof. James Busfield) and the Schlumberger Cambridge Research facility (supervised by Dr Julien Ramier).

EPSRC Research Studentship Details

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) applicants must have: 

  • settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay and
  • been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to April 2021. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences and
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education (This does not apply to UK nationals). (See: for more details)
  • Full Time programme only
  • Applicant required to start in April 2021
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to four years (Currently set as £20,000 for 2020/21).
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).

Supervisor Contact Details:

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Prof James Busfield

Tel: 020 7882 8866


Application Method:

To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Materials Science programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Research degrees in Materials:

Further Guidance:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2020 SEMS EPSRC CASE2 JJCB’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.