Engineering: Fully Funded M2A ENGD Scholarship: Surface Engineering at Swansea University

  • Master
  • Full cost of UK tuition and annual stipend
  • 3 April 2022

Engineering: Fully Funded M2A ENGD Scholarship: Surface Engineering the Next Generation of Sustainable Zinc-Free Steel Products at Swansea University

Start date: October 2022

Expected interview date: May 2022

Academic supervisors: Professor Peter Holliman and Dr Natalie Wint

Industrial supervisors: Mr Chris Mescall

Sponsoring company: TATA Steel


Steel coil is often galvanised with a zinc-rich coating as a sacrificial layer to protect against corrosion. Whilst galvanisation is effective, zinc is increasingly becoming a critical element. The galvanic layer also significantly hinders steel recycling. As such, this project will explore surface coatings for cold rolled, ungalvanized steel which combines corrosion protection, material valorisation for different value-added products, and design for recycling. This will be achieved by surface engineering using self-assembly approaches to create nano-dimensioned, interfacial layers capable of subsequent modification for different end uses. The project work will therefore connect surface treatments with materials testing and detailed surface characterisation.

The commercial potential for this project is reflected by the fact that Tata Steel UK produces approximately 500ktpa of cold rolled annealed products through it’s CAPL (continuous annealing and processing line) for applications ranging from automotive body panels, office furniture, domestic radiators, and oil drums. Cold-rolled products are susceptible to corrosion as the steel surface is exposed to the atmosphere and to minimise this, rust inhibitors and a protective oil film are applied to the steel during production.

In most cases, these protective films are removed before further processing at the customer factory to enable them to add their own surface treatment either for lubrication during pressing or for preparation prior to painting. This can lead to waste disposal concerns as well extra processing in the value chain. The goal of Tata Steel is to develop protective films that can be applied during the CAPL process which can subsequently support further processing at the customer plant.

Project Aims:

The aims for this programme of work are:

  1. Review and understand the full life cycle of novel protective surface treatments and identify their functional role in the supply chain in comparison with current commercial treatments
  2. Develop candidate replacements that reduce environmental impacts whilst maintaining functional performance and extending product range into more valued-added products
  3. Measure product performance (e.g., corrosion and/or composite behaviour) and explore the potential for recycling at end of product life.
  4. Progress to small scale production trials as appropriate
Swansea University
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Swansea University

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales.

All Scholarships from Swansea University


Candidates must normally hold a minimum undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University), or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level.

We would normally expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application.

Candidates must have the legal right to live/work in the UK at the start of their studies (student visas do not apply).

Full eligibility criteria can be found at

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The scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and a stipend of £20,000 p.a. for a period of four years.


Please visit our website for more information.

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