Engineering Doctorate (EngD)

Novel Material and Process Developments for Powder-Based Hard Surfacing/HIP Components

Industrial Sponsor - LSN Diffusion
Closing Date - 7th August 2023

Closing Date: 7th August 2023

Project start date: 1st October 2023 (Enrolment open from mid-September) 

Funding Provider: EPSRC – CDT in Functional Industrial Coatings

Key Information

Sponsor Company: LSN Diffusion

Project Supervisors

Academic supervisors: Primary: Prof Nick Lavery. Secondary: Prof Rob Lancaster

Industrial supervisors: Dr Gavin Stratford and Phillip Allnatt

Aligned programme of study: EngD in Materials, Modelling and Manufacturing

Mode of study: Full-time

Expected Interview Date: TBC

Company background:

LSN Diffusion is a manufacturer of a gas and water atomised alloy powders.  Formed in 2012, LSN Diffusion is based in South Wales and supplies products to the UK and for export to Europe, USA and Asia.  It’s product range covers international standard alloy powders and bespoke alloy powders for niche applications across a range of sectors.  LSN combines is considerable experience of powder atomisation with its suite of purposed designed and constructed atomizing systems to adapt and meet a customer’s often unique chemical and particulate requirements.  LSN Diffusion holds a range of international certifications including accreditation to BS EN ISO 9001:2015, BS EN ISO 14001:2015 and Rolls Royce SABRe and GS3001.   

As LSN Diffusion enters its second decade of operations, potential development opportunities have been recognised in a number of key areas, including automotive, additive manufacturing and energy sectors.  Advancement in these fields will require LSN Diffusion to enhance its R&D investment and profile. 

Project Aims:

Hard surfacing and wear resistant alloys are a vital part of the industrial processes that contribute to large component manufacture in the UK and worldwide. 

LSN produces a range of steel and nickel-based powders that are used for hard surface coatings and high strength Hot Iso Static Press (HIP) processes in a wide range of industries including energy, automotive and defence. 

As customer product specifications become more demanding, the requirement to produce hard surfacing coatings and HIP powders that conform to more stringent quality control measures in increases. This requirement, combined with increased demands on production efficiency and reduction of carbon emissions during manufacture, means that LSN is looking to increase its research capacity to measure and optimise its production cleanliness and quality with a resultant improvement in coating and components quality.   

This programme would look at optimising the powder production route for a range of hard surface coating and HIP powders by investigating manufacturing parameters and subsequently optimizing the manufacturing process to improve performance. This approach would require evaluation of extensive process data and iterative plant trials to provide improve product yields and powder performance. As a result of improvements, collaboration with in-house R&D technicians and downstream access to international customers would then assess the performance of coating and HIP powders during application, initially on lab-scale components before up-scaling to full-size components using customer facilities. Detailed examination of the results of these full scale commercial trials would then provide feedback data to stimulate further powder improvement. 


COATED M2A recognises applicants have a variety of backgrounds with different educational and research experiences. We do not expect applicants to be proficient users of any techniques/equipment mentioned, at the time of application. Our focus is to upskill our participants and training will be provided.

COATED M2A in the Faculty of Science and 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. COATED M2A is committed to providing top quality research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners.

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies.

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN silver award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation. Applications from women and other under-represented groups are particularly welcomed. 

All applications will be anonymised prior to short listing.


Candidates must hold at minimum (or expect to obtain by the start date) an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level, or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level. See ‘country specific information for European and international applicants (available at the bottom of the page)’

Candidates with a materials science or engineering background are preferred, with a strong disposition towards practical laboratory work and manufacturing. Knowledge of metal-based powder manufacture and atomisation is highly desirable

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 6.0 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent. Details on the Swansea University English Language entry policy can be found here.

Due to the nature of the funding, only UK nationals will be able to apply for this project. 

N.B.:  If you are holding a non-UK degree, please see Swansea University degree comparisons to find out if you meet the eligibility.  

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 studentship covers a full award and includes a tax-free stipend (currently £22,000 per annum) and tuition fees, each for a period of four years, subject to meeting University progression requirements.  

Also, a generous budget is available to support training, project costs, industry placements and travel to enable you to network and showcase your research at an international conference. 

How to Apply

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

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.

  1. Start year – please select 2023
  2. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS404 – M2A LSN

*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):

  • Personal statement select ‘Add Personal Statement Text’ in Section 6 and set out your skills and experience and the relevance of these to the project within the text box provided. Please refer to the ‘hints and tips’ guide for details of how to structure your personal statement. Shortlisting decisions will be made on information supplied in section 6 of Apply only. Please do not attach a cover letter as it will not be considered.
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • 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.
  • CV
  • A cover letter
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact  

*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.

Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) provides industry led postgraduate research training based at Swansea University's new Bay Campus. M2A is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.