Interface phase transitions and degradation of Pb-free ferroelectric ceramics

Host Faculty: Engineering
General Subject Area: Materials Science and Engineering
Project Level: PhD
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Ferro recruitment

The aging and fatigue (degradation) of oxide ferroelectric materials in service is not understood at a fundamental defect level. In these materials, the thermodynamic state of interfaces such as grain boundaries has not been explored to the extent that it has in non-polar materials. In part, this is because of the multi-physics coupling, and herein lies the key to the richness of the physics.

In this project, we will build on previous work on interfaces in functional oxides and on bulk ferroelectric phase coexistence to develop new multi-physics models. Thermodynamics of bulk phases, interfaces and point defects will be coupled in order to develop understanding of bulk and interface phase transition behaviour in barium titanate and other Pb-free chemistries. This knowledge will enable identification of the origin of ferroelectric degradation and strategies to mitigate this problem.


Supervisor: Catherine Bishop

Key qualifications and skills

An ideal candidate would have previous experience in materials modelling, particularly meso-scale modelling, and oxide ceramics. An excellent background in mathematics is required. The student is likely to have an Honours or Masters degree in a discipline such as materials science and engineering, physics, chemistry or geology. This is part of an international collaboration funded by a Marsden Grant, and excellent communication skills are required. 

Does the project come with funding

Yes - $30,000 pa stipend plus fees

Final date for receiving applications



modelling; ferroelectrics; defect chemistry; materials science; interfaces