UK: PhD Studentships Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Sheffield

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Project Description

Tissue engineering is the development of synthetic material that can replace human organs. It is fast moving and rapidly expanding field that is seeing some incredible advances. This project will focus on bone tissue engineering. Human bone defects fall into two categories: those with no effect on the skeletal structure and those which are intrinsic to the stability of the skeleton. Currently, there are numerous commercially available low strength, void filling bone graft substitute (BGS) products on the market but none offer structural support to the skeleton. Hence, there is a gap in the market for BGSs that can be applied in place of human derived bone grafts in large defects, for example in spinal fusion or resections for infection or tumour. In these instances bone grafts can be as large as 20 cm and their location (joints, spine, and long bones) require them to be able to bear load and work with instrumentation to maintain the stability of the skeleton.

Patented research has identified that the ceramic extrusion process used to manufacture automotive exhaust catalysts is suitable for manufacturing high strength and high porosity BGSs. This PhD project will optimise the ceramic extrusion process for a range of novel ceramics and glasses, including chain silicate bio glass-ceramics with high fracture toughness recently developed at Sheffield. The mechanical properties and bioactivity of the novel BGS structures will then be studied using in vitro cell culture, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and compression and shear tests.

Candidate Profile

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a 1st class or a good 2.1 degree (MEng or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline, such as mechanical, manufacturing or bioengineering. Applicants should be self-motivated and able to formulate and implement new ideas.

EU and overseas applicants will require an acceptable English qualification equivalent to IELTS 6.5 (with 6 in each component). Further information on acceptable qualifications.

Further Information

For details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements please visit the EPSRC website
Please note that, under these requirements, only UK residents are eligible for full support (tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend of £13,726), while EU applicants can receive support only with respect to tuition fees. Applicants from outside the UK/EU will only be considered if they are able to pay the difference between student fees at the home and overseas rate themselves.

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