PhD opportunity: Nanocoating for FRP composites in marine environment

Director of studies: Dr Maozhou Meng

2nd supervisor: Dr Thomas Vance

3rd supervisor: Dr Lee Durndell

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2019.

Project description

The high stiffness- and strength-to-weight ratios, superior environmental resistance and fatigue life, have led fibre reinforced plastics (FRP) composites being widely used in marine industries. As FRP composites allows complex shapes to be prefabricated, it suits most demanding engineering applications, such as offshore renewable energy devices. However, there are some challenges for FRP composites used in marine environment, including long-term exposure to moisture, numerous ionic species, microorganisms and erosion. One possible solution is the surface modification of FRP composites using nanotechnology.

The aim of this PhD studentship project is to develop an environmental-friendly anti-biofouling and anti-erosion nanocoating for FRP composites in marine environment. The nanocoating to be considered in this project will be metal-base coating by embedding nanoparticles within the metal matrix.

The successful candidate will liaise with a vibrant supervision team formed across mechanical engineering, chemistry, and marine biology. The project involves experimental investigation and numerical simulation. The work will complement the existing EU project (InterReg SeaBioComp).


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.


The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,009 per annum.

Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £12,285 per annum).

How to apply

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Maozhou Meng. However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at the University of Plymouth.

You can apply via the online application form and selecting ‘Apply’.

Please mark it FAO Aimee McNeillie, clearly stating that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Engineering. Please attach a covering letter detailing your suitability for the studentship, a CV, research statement, and 2 academic references.

For more information on the admissions process contact Ms Aimee McNeillie.

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 31 May 2019. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview mid June. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 30 June 2019 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.