HDR Scholarship - Self-healing composites for automotive applications

A PhD scholarship is available in Deakin University's Institute of Frontier Materials. 

The PhD student, under the guidance of the Chief Investigator, will initiate and conduct research on the topic of 'Self-healing composites for automotive applications' led by Professor Russell Varley. The successful applicant will be based at the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.

Details of the project

Increased use of carbon fibre composites in cars provides enormous benefits through light-weighting, design flexibility and enhanced fatigue and corrosion resistance. Unfortunately, composite materials can be damaged through various types of impact and they are also susceptible to surface degradation due to exposure to UV irradiation. Durability issues therefore, are one factor that limits their application in the automotive industry. This PhD project will seek to address these disadvantages through the implementation of self-healing mechanisms that automatically repairs or reverses damage or degradation after such a damage event.

One solution to this problem, is to take advantage of one of the many examples in nature of composite structures that are both highly damage tolerant, durable and able to repair themselves subject to some damage event. One such example is bone, which due to its complex hierarchical and porous structure, is both extremely strong and damage tolerant yet able to heal post impact. This project therefore will create new composite materials with controlled structures and functionality at every length scale from molecular to macroscale, mimicking the structure of bone, yet remain processable using fabrication methods typically associated with the automotive industry.

Value and duration


  • A stipend of $26,682 per annum tax exempt (2017 rate)
  • Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for international students for the duration of 4 years.


Three years

Important dates



closing date


Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full-time and hold an Honours degree (First Class) or a Master's degree with a substantial research component in a related field. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.

How to apply

Please refer to the how to apply for a research degree page for application information.

Further information

If you wish to discuss your research interests and project proposal before applying, please contact Prof Russell Varley via email, phone at +61 3 5247 9577 or  Dr Minoo Naebe via email, phone at +61 3 522 71410.