Research Fellow in Spacecraft Materials Ageing

University of Surrey

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Mechanical Engineering Sciences
Location:  Guildford

£35,308 to £39,592
per annum
Fixed Term
Post Type:  Full Time
Closing Date: 
23.59 hours BST on Wednesday 05 July 2023
Reference:  029523

The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Surrey is seeking to recruit a full-time researcher to the project: “Assessment of long term performance of CFRP-based folding antenna structures in the LEO environment”, funded by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).

The successful candidate will assist in the characterisation of the ageing of various carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) types through experimental processes, and use their understanding of materials science to identify the underlying mechanisms and generate an appropriate test protocol for other researchers to use in future.


This is a fixed term contract for up to 18 months, to start at beginning of August 2023.

Main Responsibilities/Activities

The Research Fellow’s role will be to undertake the majority of the experimental work (in collaboration with the University technical staff). This includes the use of vacuum equipment and VUV lamps to simulate the ageing effects of space on the polymeric components of the CFRP, and to carry out the subsequent analysis, including surface roughness, mechanical testing, and surface chemistry (XPS + ToF-SIMS, ATR-FTIR). The Research Fellow will also assist in reporting to the sponsor, and disseminate the results at conferences and in academic journals.

The post holder must have

We are looking for applicants who hold, or are near completion of, a PhD in a relevant subject. (Relevant professional experience may be considered.) The successful applicant will demonstrate experience and knowledge of at least one of the following areas:

– Vacuum and plasma equipment

– Surface chemistry of polymers

– Ageing mechanisms in polymers

Candidates with experience with using vacuum equipment and generating low pressure plasmas (such as space propulsion researchers) are likely to have many of the skills required, and are encouraged to apply.

Relationships and Contacts

In addition to supporting the research project with internal and external collaborators, the position will serve as a platform for the Research Fellow to develop their career and profile as an independent researcher, and provide an opportunity to work alongside colleagues in our AWE Centre of Excellence in Materials Ageing Performance and Lifetime Prediction.

Please note that the appointment to the position will be subject to approval by Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) as a research worker.

The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Andrew Viquerat in the School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Andrew Viquerat at [email protected] or +44(0)1483 68 6267.

Please submit a CV and covering letter with your application.

Please note, it is University Policy to offer a starting salary equivalent to Level 3.6 (£34,314) to successful applicants who have been awarded, but are yet to receive, their PhD certificate.  Once the original PhD certificate has been submitted to the local HR Department, the salary will be increased to Level 4.1 (£35,308).

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