Prof. Hongbiao Dong

Professor of Materials Engineering
Department of Engineering
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH

T: +44 (0)116 252 2528
F: +44 (0)116 252 2525

Location: Room 137, Michael Atiyah Building


If you are seeking PDRA and PHD positions, please check the followings

Post-Doctoral Fellowships:

We encourage high calibre candidates to apply for scholarships/awards through various funding bodies, e.g. EPSRC, the Royal Society. For further infomation, please contact Prof. Dong directly.

PhD Positions

1. Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) of Niobium Silicide-Based Composites

Niobium silicide-based composites, in the application of gas turbine blades, promise significant efficiency improvements compared to current Ni-based alloys. The higher temperature capability would allow the engine to run at a higher temperature than that of current alloys, increasing engine efficiency. Nb-Si based composites possess a lower density, due to the presence of ceramic phases such as Nb5Si3 and/or Nb3Si. This would reduce the weight of the rotating blades. However, improvements in certain properties, such as ductility, room temperature toughness and oxidation resistance are needed. The alloy must also be cost effective to manufacture if niobium silicide systems are to reach their full potential.

This study focuses on the manufacturability aspect of the powder feeding laser additive manufacturing (LAM) process to engineering Nb-Si based alloy samples. LAM has the advantage of forming near-net shapes without the use of expensive cores and moulds for the reactive Nb-Si melt. Fine microstructure and even chemical composition distribution with reduced macro-segregation are obtained. With the use of power feeding system, new Nb-Si based alloys are LAMed with varying Ti, Si, Cr, Al, Hf, V concentrations. Microstructures and mechanical properties of the LAMed new alloys will be investigated, the relationship between mechanical property, alloy chemistry and process variable will be analyzed to develop new alloys systems.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with Rolls-Royce Plc, Diamond Light Source Ltd, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, ISIS neutron beamline

2. Advanced Processing Technology for Single-Crystal Aero-engine Turbine Components

PhD projects in this area include: 1. Grain selection during single-crystal casting of gas turbine blades, 2. Formation of surface defects in single-crystal turbine blades, 3. Materials thermodynamic properties database of Ni-base alloys for advanced processing.

This area of research has been carried out with collaborators from Rolls-Royce. It aims to bring knowledge-inspired decision making to production routes of aero-engine turbine blades. As an example, by detailed examination of modelling results, I originated a patent for producing new single crystals with finer microstructures - a technique is being taken forward by industry. The new processing route results in not only saving manufacturing costs but also leading to new materials with higher performance.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with Rolls-Royce PlcDiamond Light Source Ltd, and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, ISIS neutron beamline


3. Enviromental-Induced Failure in Gas-and-Oil Transportaion Systems

The demand for deep-sea oil and gas supply is increasing due to the higher demand on energy and security of energy supply. The pipelines for transporting oil and gas are constructed by joining high strength steel linepipes that are produced through the UOE process involving seam welding (UOE linepipes are produced by forming and seam welding steel plates. UOE stands for the main forming operations involved: U-ing, O-ing and Expanding. Seam welding is performed after O-ing and before pipe Expanding.). Therefore how to achieve a defect-free seam weld with favourable microstructure and properties in UOE linepipe production is of vital importance to the pipelines especially to be laid at deep and ultra-deep waters. The current project is designed with a view to addressing these issues in terms of microstructure evolution and defect formation and avoidance during linepipe seam welding from the first principles, and meanwhile delivering a computer based system for practical applications.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with TWI and ISIS neutron beamline

Application Requirements:

Applicants should have a good honours degree (either first class or upper second class) or hold an MSc in Materials Science, or a relevant Engineering or Physical Science discipline.

For general admission information, please email Mrs Michelle Pryce (; for informal inquires, interested applicants are also encouraged to contact Prof. Dong (email:

For an application form please visit:

Please send your completed application form with two academic references to Mrs Michelle Pryce, Department of Engineering, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.

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