Microscopic and Nanoscopic Understanding of Complex Coatings on Steel –... Microstructure to Electrochemical Behaviour

Microscopic and Nanoscopic Understanding of Complex Coatings on Steel – Relating
Microstructure to Electrochemical Behaviour
Supervisors: Professor Barbara Shollock (WMG) and Professor Patrick Unwin (Warwick Chemistry)
Funding: EPRSC iCASE award
Start Date: 1 October 2015 for up to 4 years
Project Overview
Steel is a major construction material, with wide application from buildings and stadia, to
automotive and household goods.
To improve the performance and uses of steel, particularly for advanced applications and
manufacturing, requires protective surface coatings that range from conventional Zn-based metallic
coatings to complex organic coatings for packaging and building envelopes.
The goal of project is to explore the fundamental microstructural features of existing and new
coatings and relate these to the associated microscopic and nanoscopic electrochemical behaviour.
This is important because the failure of coatings, particularly from corrosion, is associated with
electrochemical processes that are highly localised. Insights into these processes would thus be
hugely valuable in the understanding and development of next-generation coatings.
This project is a collaboration between leading researchers in the WMG and the Warwick
Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group and will make particular use of world-leading developments
in high resolution electrochemical imaging that have produced a unique platform for visualising the
chemical activity of a wide range for materials with unprecedented space and time resolution.
When these techniques are used in combination with other types of structural microscopy –
particularly state of the art electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and secondary ion mass
spectroscopy imaging - in a multi-microscopy approach, considerable insights into structure-function
of materials are revealed. Supported by finite element modelling, this overarching approach
provides detailed pictures of the behaviour of materials and coatings that can be used to test
macroscopic measurements and performance.
The project provides an outstanding opportunity to be involved in high impact, cutting edge research
while also giving valuable exposure to a major area of industry through Tata Steel. Working in two
world-renowned departments, the project will allow you to develop expertise in microscopy, state of
the art electrochemistry, and modelling - skills which are much-sought
Funding and Eligibility
All fees paid are paid for UK/EU nationals for up to 4 years.
- UK nationals receive full costs (fees plus stipend) while EU nationals are eligible for fee payment
Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in any of the physical sciences (chemistry, physics,
engineering, materials, maths/stats) are encouraged to contact Professor Barbara Shollock
([email protected]) or Professor Patrick Unwin ([email protected]) for further
To apply, please complete our online enquiry form