Modelling of Dislocation-Microstructure Interaction at a Short Crack Tip PhD

Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Entry requirements:
3 years
6 years
Reference number:
Start date:
01 October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
09 March 2018



in the UK for research quality

REF 2014


in the UK for Mechanical Engineering

The Complete University Guide 2018


of 2 Queen's Anniversary Prizes


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

Nickel-based superalloys are particularly used in applications involving high temperatures and stresses, such as the critical gas-turbine blades and discs in aerospace and power-generation industries. The behaviour of short cracks in nickel superalloys is of particular importance for component design and life prediction, as a large proportion of service life is spent in the growth of small cracks before final failure. This project aims to investigate the fundamental deformation mechanism at the tip of a short crack for nickel-based superalloys under fatigue at a range of temperatures. The research will focus on the influence of evolving local plasticity, induced by dislocation dynamics at the crack tip, on short crack growth. A multi-scale finite element (FE) method will be established for the crack-tip deformation analyses, which aims to identify a micromechanics-based driving force for short crack growth. The ultimate goal is to deliver an efficient finite element procedure to predict short crack growth.

The candidate will join the vibrant Mechanics of Advanced Materials research group at Loughborough University. Low cycle fatigue deformation and in-situ crack growth will be tested at both room and high temperatures, complemented by SEM/TEM characterisation. The results will be used to validate the multiscale models developed in this project. The research outcome will have significance in ensuring structural integrity of gas turbine systems.


Primary supervisor: Liguo Zhao

Secondary supervisor: TBC

Find out more

For further project details email Liguo Zhao or register your interest and ask us a question.

To find out more about the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, please visit our website.

Further information on the Mechanics and Advanced Materials Loughborough University Research Group can be found here.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering, Solid Mechanics, Applied Mathematics, Materials Science, Physics or a related subject.

A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Mechanical Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering, Solid Mechanics, Applied Mathematics, Materials Science, Physics. 

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name select Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. Please quote reference number: LG1UF2018