Low Cost Functional Coatings for Steel Based Upon Two Dimensional Nanomaterials

Key Information

Academic supervisor: Dr. Richard Cobley & Prof. Dave Penny from Swansea University, Prof. Satheesh Krishnamurthy from the Open University.
Industrial supervisor: Dr. Samson Patole, Dr. Douglas Figueroa


Steel products have numerous service condition challenges such as oxidation, corrosion as well as possible damage due to applied loads and stresses during different manufacturing processes. Two-dimensional materials such as Graphene, Molybdenum sulphide, HBN, and MXENE have shown promising properties for corrosion protection, high temperature resistance, im-permeability to small molecules, as well as ultra-low friction layer systems. Hence functional coatings and lubrication systems based on these novel 2d materials will enhance our product properties and performance. In this context, a wide range of potential market applications can be considered, such as: passivation systems for building products and CFPA packaging, impermeable coatings for tubular products and advanced automotive lubrication systems for stamping of automotive steel panels.

Project Aims:

Improved functional properties of these hybrid coating systems will differentiate Tata’s products, achieving a competitive edge in the market place. The project will seek to achieve the following objectives:

  • Develop and demonstrate solutions based on 2D materials that can deliver robust, viable coatings for the relevant applications,
  • Select material for application testing and optimisation,
  • Fundamental understanding of performance of the new hybrid 2D coating systems including barrier, passivation, and lubrication tests.
  • Evaluating suitability of coating application technologies such as roller coatings, chemical coaters, and other technologies.
  • H&S and environmental impact of these new hybrid 2D systems are to be evaluated (organic systems might be advantageous).

The success of the project will be evaluated upon the results of the work resulting in number of successful coating formulations that will lead either to publications or patents to secure IP in this area. Moreover the project will be the first step to build up a firm collaboration with Swansea and Open University in the issues important for R&D in near future.

This work will be complete as a collaboration with Dr Richard Cobley and Prof Dave Penney at Swansea University and Prof. Sateesh Krishnamurthy at Open University as they bring the expertise in 2D nanomaterials and coatings technologies which is essential for the key success of this project.

Before submitting an application for the project, please see our Hints & Tips document which can be found here.

Sponsoring Company: Tata Steel UK


We welcome applications from candidates with Chemistry, Physics, or Engineering disciplines. 2.1 or 1st class degree preferred, or equivalent relevant experience that would enable the candidate to fulfil the role.

Full eligibility can be found at https://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility


Fees at Home / EU rate, and Stipend £20,000 per annum, for each of the four years.
For full details on funding eligibility, please refer to the Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) Website (Student Eligibility | M2A).
Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to ‘International’ candidates.

Closing Date: 16th July 2021

Start Date: October 2021

Applications and informal enquiries about this studentship should be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk

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