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Materials Engineering Group



PhD Position

Creep studies of stainless steel weldments using Digital Image Correlation:


Creep is one of the main degradation mechanisms affecting the structural integrity of welded steam pipes in power generation plants operating at high temperature. The safety assessment of these components requires the knowledge of the non-uniform creep deformation in and around the welded joints. A method has been developed in the Materials Engineering group at the Open University to capture full field displacement map of cross-weld samples of austenitic stainless steels during creep testing using digital image correlation.  The proposed project involves the extension of this project to investigate the effect of other welding configurations (e.g. ferritic/martensitic steels and welds of dissimilar materials) and the effect of the strength mismatch ratio and constraint on the interface stresses in the weldments.

For enquiries and further information, please email John Bouchard

Further Information

The position would suit a graduate with a qualification in Materials Engineering, Physics or other relevant engineering subjects at a Bachelor level or above. The work will be full time, therefore students are required to study for a minimum of 35 hours a week, living within 15 miles of the Walton Hall campus (Milton Keynes); in exceptional circumstances you may be able to live further away with the approval of the Faculty of Mathematics Computing and Technology.

The approximate stipend (maintenance grant) for PhD students for academic year 2011/12 is 13,590 per year (usually increasing annually in line with inflation).

The PhD will start as soon as possible in 2012 and will last for 3 years. The closing date for applications is 12 March 2012. Applications received after this date cannot be considered for this position.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please use the application form that you can download here. Please quote reference 2012CH2 in all correspondence connected with this position. Your completed form should be returned by email as a Word document to Paul Courtnage only; please do not email to multiple addresses.

Useful supporting documents include proof of BSc, MSc, competence in English and current CV (maximum of 2 pages).

Your CV should include details about the following, where applicable:

  • Secondary and higher education (dates, establishments, examinations, results & thesis titles)
  • Other technical, professional or occupational training (dates, provider, type of training, subjects and qualifications)
  • Employment history (dates, details of employers, positions held with brief details of duties, final salary and reason for leaving). Remember to include unpaid or voluntary work
  • Details of relevant publications, if any.

Two referees should ideally be able to comment on your academic suitability and, where applicable, any research or employment you have undertaken. Referees should be senior academics, your line-manager or research supervisor.


You may also wish to see the Research Degrees web pages for information about PhD studies at The Open University.  However, please do not send applications to the Research School as instructed in those pages as they will not reach Professor Bouchard in time.

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).