Microstructural Characterisation, Deformation Kinetics and Creep Fatigue Behaviour of Additively Manufactured 316L Stainless Steels

Qualification: PhD

Department: School of Engineering

Application deadline: 27th February 2020

Start date: July 2020



Professor Bo Chen

Project Description

The key degradation mechanisms for the high-temperature power plant system is the microstructural degradation and creep-fatigue of steel components.  When structural materials (e.g. Type 316L stainless steels) are used at high temperature, thermal ageing and inelastic deformation lead to changes in their microstructures.  The creep and creep-fatigue performance of structural materials are limited by the degradation of microstructures.  The underlying need is to develop improved understanding and predictive models of the evolution of the key microstructural features and deformation kinetics so that their high-temperature mechanical performance can be predicted.

The aim of this PhD work is to use a range of advanced microstructure and mechanical testing tools covering different length-scales to fully characterise the evolution of both the microstructure and mechanical properties on advanced austenitic stainless steels due to high-temperature exposure with and without loading.  The candidate materials will be fabricated with powder-bed additive manufacturing techniques.

This project is partly funded by EPSRC through the SYNERgy programme https://gow.epsrc.ukri.org/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/R043973/1.  You will need to engage with all the project partners that particularly include Universities of Oxford and Manchester.  The PhD candidates will have full access to all high-end microstructure characterisation facilities, mechanical testing facilities, and the UK’s word-leading neutron and synchrotron X-ray large-scale facilities.  This project also comes with financial supports for attending international meetings/workshops.



This PhD studentship provides a stipend and tuition fee waiver for 3.5 years.

The funding includes a full tuition fee waiver at international rates.  

The stipend is at the standard UKRI rate which for 2019/20 will be £15,009 per year.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain at least a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better, or overseas equivalent in materials, mechanical engineering or relevant subject area.

The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

In addition, successful applicants should meet the following
Familiar with mechanics of materials, preferably with some experience of analytical materials modelling
Or familiar with the physical metallurgy of materials and have a good knowledge of microstructural characterisation
A basic computer programming/coding skill


Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Project and funding enquiries to:

Professor Bo Chen bo.chen@leicester.ac.uk  or

Engineering PGR Administrator engineeringpgr@le.ac.uk

Application enquiries to:

PGR Admissions Office pgradmissions@le.ac.uk 

How to apply

How to apply

To apply please click on the Apply Button at the bottom of of the page and select May 2020 start date.

In the funding section of the application please indicate you wish to be considered for Prof Bo Chen’s Studentship.

In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisor and project title. 

You do not need to submit a research proposal, but you do need to provide a personal statement detailing why you what to be considered for the PhD.


  • Degree transcripts and certificates
  • CV
  • Two academic reference letters or add the contact details of references in the text boxes provided 
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable.



Available to UK/EU and International applicants