PhD Engineering Scholarship: Advanced Composites Materials in non-ambient environmental conditions (2024)

A 3.5 year PhD in Engineering scholarship under the supervision of Dr Xun Wu.

What you get

You will receive a tax-free stipend at a standard rate of £19,237 per year and your fees will be waived (at the UK, EU, or International rate). In addition, to a one-off Research and Training Support Grant of £2,000.

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

The tremendous potential of composite materials in achieving a low-carbon and sustainable future, especially in renewable energy production, sustainable energy storage, and lightweight solutions for sustainable transportation, has been well established. With decarbonisation deadlines looming, the quest for making carbon fibre more sustainable or use them in the application to reduce CO2 emission is becoming more pressing.

One of the key areas to use composites is in renewable energy storage. Hydrogen, in either compressed or liquified forms, has been identified as one of the key alternative fuel solutions for the future transportation industry, including aerospace, automotive and maritime industries. The excellent mechanical properties and lightweight nature of composites make them extremely favourable for development in hydrogen storage container for transportation industrial. However, such applications necessitate materials that exhibit resilience and endurance in extreme and non-ambient environmental conditions. For example, liquid hydrogen needs to be stored in cryogenic conditions, which is typically below the temperature -252 ℃. However, the behaviour of composites under these extreme and non-ambient conditions remains inadequately understood.

The aim of this project is to develop a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of composite materials under the extreme conditions, particular in cryogenic applications, through the development of both experimental and numerical methodologies. Based on the insight gained, you are expecting to design composites with enhanced mechanical performance under the extreme conditions.

In this project, you will be based at the Department of Engineering and Design and will have opportunity to work with colleagues across the School of Engineering and Informatics. You will also collaborate with colleagues from the University of Bristol and other institutes such as National Composites Centre.

We invite prospective candidates for this PhD project who possess a proven track record in experiment and computer simulation, knowledge of mechanics of engineering materials/composites, along with a strong desire for continuous learning, exploration, and making contributions to the research of mechanics of composites and composites in extreme conditions. The successful candidate will also be expected to submit publications to academic journals and to present their findings at major international conferences.


This scholarship is available to UK, EU and overseas applicants. 

Eligible candidates will have an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in a related field. 

The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We celebrate and promote diversity,equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applicants from all backgrounds

Number of scholarships available



3 June 2024 23:59

How to apply

Apply online for a full time PhD in Engineering (SEP2024) using our step-by-step guide.

Please clearly state on your application that you are applying for the Advanced Composites Materials in non-ambient environmental conditions under the supervision of Dr Xun Wu.

Please ensure you application includes each of the following: 

  • A research proposal.
  • A personal statament. 
  • Your CV.
  • Degree certificates and transcripts. 
  • 2 references, including a minimum of 1 from any institution studied at within the last 5 years.
  • If your first language is not English you will need to demonstrate that you meet the University’s English language requirements, see here for details of our accepted documentation

Contact us

For general application enquiries, please email

For project specific queries, please email 


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
3 June 2024 23:59 (GMT)


The award is available to people from these specific countries: