ESR 5: Precision nanoengineered surfaces for dynamic anti-icing

University College London, London (UK)

Supervisor: Manish K. Tiwari

Doctoral position

A 36-month doctoral position as an early-stage researcher (ESR) focused on precision nanoengineering metallic substrates for anti-icing applications is proposed within the framework of a Marie Skłodowska – Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) project “Smart surface design for efficient ice protection and control” (SURFICE), a project under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The candidate is required to be graduated of a Master’s degree  (or equivalent) in Mechanical/Chemical or any other pertinent Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry or Physics or related areas. Knowledge/experience in surface wettability, multiphase processes, thermofluid sciences etc. will be assessed for the selection of the candidate.

The project will be carried out at University College London, under the scientific supervision of Professor Manish K. Tiwari. Secondments at different MSCA-ITN partner institutions will be part of the project. For ESR5 there are two secondments planned. First, a 2-month placement at Pilkington Technology Management Ltd (PTML) to learn CVD based transparent surface treatments. Second, a 2-month secondment at KU Leuven to learn about modelling drop wetting and ice nucleation dependent on materials and surface properties.

The ESR will be affiliated as a doctoral student of UCL Mechanical Engineering, from which she/he shall obtain a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Job Description

In this project you will have a chance to be embedded in a multidisciplinary group in world-class university. The candidate will be trained to manufacture robust hierarchical superhydrophobic/icephobic nanoengineered metallic surfaces. The candidate will have an opportunity to learn and use electro(chemical) etching, nanolithography, self-assembly etc. based techniques as novel scalable approaches to nanoengineer surfaces with high-precision and scalability. This will be followed by conformal treatment/coating of these (nano)structures using sustainable chemicals to achieve environment-friendly anti-icing surfaces. The surface icephobicity (anti-icing property) will then be characterized and optimized. The project stages may comprise of:

a) precision surface manufacture and thermofluidic investigations, b) designing conformal coatings of these structures to obtain exceptional liquid repellence and icing suppression capability, c) performing freezing delay and/or ice adhesion measurements and d) performing supercooled drop and jet impact experiments in existing bespoke benchtop test chambers and image the impact dynamics using ultra-high-speed imaging approaching (1M frames per second).

Your profile

  • Candidates should have recently obtained a Master’s degree  (or equivalent) in Mechanical/Chemical or any other pertinent Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry or Physics with outstanding grades.
  • Strong abilities to perform and analyse experimental findings.
  • Desirable: experience in design and setup of an experimental test-rigs
  • Desirable: programming experience and experimental data acquisition (Python, Matlab, LabVIEW, C++, or other languages).
  • Strong theoretical background in at least one of the following topics: thermofluid science, multiphase or phase change processes, fracture propagation.
  • Language skills: ENGLISH: Excellent.
  • Hard working attitude with a proven record of taking initiatives to drive projects
  • Good team working skills and professional communication skills

Institution address

UCL Mechanical Engineering, Torrington Place, Roberts Building, University College London, London, WC1E 7JE, UK

Important dates

Expected starting of the working contract: 1st June 2021.
We look forward to receiving your application until 31st March 2021.

Application process

By e-mail to m.tiwari@ucl.ac.uk  and recruitment@surfice-itn.eu, including the recruitment form and others documents given on the website: https://www.surfice-itn.eu/phd-positions/general-conditions-and-requirements/

This website also gives the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA, the application requirements and the selection process.

For questions and further information on the position, please contact Professor Manish K. Tiwari (m.tiwari@ucl.ac.uk).