Developing micromechanical testing protocols for bilayer and multilayer nanocomposite coatings

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Dr Mingyuan Lum.lu1@uq.edu.au

Re-coated metal (PCM) sheets are extensively used in the manufacture of domestic electric appliances, such as air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens etc. Millions of tons of PCM sheets are produced every year worldwide to meet the burgeoning demand for domestic electric appliances. However, coupled with this rapid expansion are issues around product quality, with insufficient robustness and durability of the polymeric coatings on PCM steel being the most prevalent. This has posed challenges for enhancing product reliability, reducing production cost and managing the associated wastage of scrap and reject materials. The current high reject rate in production not only impose a cost burden on the manufacturers of PCM sheets and home appliances, but also generate a significant environmental concern with respect to waste disposal. Therefore, developing the next generation of PCM coatings with enhanced mechanical performance has become a priority for many PCM manufacturers. 

A PhD project is available to support this research funded under an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project. This research focuses on developing new nanocomposite coatings with high strength, toughness and hardness to improve the quality and reliability of PCM products using nanoclay and graphene technologies. The PHD project will aim to develop assessment protocols for bilayer and multilayer nanocomposite coatings. Micro-mechanical approaches for assessing interfacial toughness and adhesion of the polymeric coatings will be developed. In particular, the effect of nanofillers on the toughening and formability of the coatings will be comprehensively investigated and understood. In addition, the deformation behaviour of the multilayer systems under tension and bending, as well as material removal in abrasion will be studied to explore the relations between process, microstructure and mechanical properties. 

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of material characterization, nano-/micro-mechanical testing, thin film and coating would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of material science and material mechanics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of nano-/micro-mechanics and interfacial adhesion measurement is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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