Direct to Metal Anti-Corrosive Coatings

Key Information

Supervisors: TBC

U-POL is a large UK based company, specializing in coatings and other repair products, primarily aimed at vehicle refinish and the automotive aftermarket. They have manufacturing facilities and an R&D centre in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire from where they export to over 100 countries around the world.

One of their major brands is RAPTOR, a versatile high-performance textured coating with a significant brand share and market awareness as a truck bed liner and vehicle customisation solution, being particularly well known in USA and Russia.

One of the key properties of a coating sold into this market is its ability to protect the underlying substrate (often mild steel) from corrosion. RAPTOR itself only offers barrier protection and contains no active anti-corrosive materials. To provide additional corrosion resistance it is recommended to either use an acid etch or an epoxy primer prior to applying RAPTOR, but this adds an additional process step, which adds additional cost, both in terms of product and more significantly in terms of labour.   

This project aims to understand the failure mode of the product RAPTOR with respect to corrosion and then to assess different potential solutions to improving performance, to enable the product to be recommended for use direct to metal without use of a primer, ideally with a performance warranty.

Early screening work has been conducted on possible solutions, including inclusion of different anti-corrosive pigments and improvement of barrier properties through addition of flexibilization additives.

The Research Engineer will:

Build on early screening work by completing testing of the most promising routes and working collaboratively with the industrial team on formulating better solutions.

At its site in Wellingborough, U-POL has a large laboratory where the formulating work and practical application work (spray application of the coating) can be completed, complementary to the analytical and testing equipment available at Swansea.

Swansea University is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.  

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committee to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.


Sponsoring Company U-POL

For more information on U-POL and RAPTOR see www.u-pol.com and www.raptorcoatings.com

Company Website Eligibility

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers. 

To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

  • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
  • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding.

Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of one academic year.

Maintenance stipend of £12500 per annum for a period of one year.

Closing Date 15 March 2019

Start Date October 2019

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk