Closing date: 26 January 2024

Key Information

Funding providers: EPSRC and Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering

Subject areas: Structural dynamics, Nonlinear dynamics, Multi-physics, Experimental testing

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)
  • 1 January 2025 (Enrolment open from mid-December)


Aligned programme of study: PhD in Aerospace Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time 

Project description: 

One of the major knowledge gaps in the study of complex aerospace systems is the frictional interface of jointed components. In the current state-of-the-art, only the nonlinear friction is considered. For the underlying physics, frictional energy dissipates energy via deformations (using current methods), heat (not considered and is the focus of this project), and sound (considered ignorable for most sliding situations). This project will focus on the understanding of the heat-based energy dissipation and the environmental effects on these frictional joints.

Swansea University is a member of the International Committee on Joint Mechanics. This is a multi-disciplinary committee focused on understanding and predicting jointed interfaces in assembled structures. The ICJM is a collection of academics, industrial researchers, and governmental bodies from across the world. This allows for knowledge transfer between industrial needs, current state-of-the-art, and relevant regulations. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to attend joint community meetings, where they can discuss and present their work, as well as attending and presenting at international conferences.  

This project will investigate the recently identified need (discovered by the ICJM) for multi-physics understanding and modelling. Specifically, this project will investigate the thermal-mechanical relationship in assembled structures. The student will utilise a newly acquired environmental chamber to understand these previously not investigated aspects of these nonlinear joints. In addition to the testing, the student will also work towards developing a novel temperature-dependent nonlinear joint model. 


Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. Full details of our English Language policy, including certificate time validity, can be found here.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

EPSRC funded studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students, once the limit has been reached, we are unable to make offers to international students.  

We are still accepting applications from international applicants.   

International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements. 


Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website. 

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer. 

Modelling joints in structural dynamics has been a fundamental area of active research over the last 20 years. Modelling these joints is particularly challenging due to their complex frictional behaviour. Several models have been proposed and published by researchers in the field. However, there has been limited research on the effects of environmental temperature and its correlation with the frictional behaviour of joints. This project aims to experimentally determine this thermo-vibrational relationship using a simplified academic system in a temperature-controlled chamber. The results from these experiments will serve as a basis for developing a descriptive model to predict vibration properties under regular operating conditions. 

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24).

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Aerospace Engineering / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / October

    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

  2. Start year – please select 2024
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS460 - Mechanical Joints’

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email):

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Matthew Bonney (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.