HDR Scholarship - Development of a New Resin Chemistry for Surface Finish Applications

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Development of a New Resin Chemistry for Surface Finish Applications'

Project Supervisor

Associate Supervisor


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Structurally, carbon fibre reinforced composites are one of the strongest and lightest materials available for use on automotive applications. However, the polymer chemistry commonly used with reinforced composites does not provide the requirements needed to simulate that of a painted metallic component.

Significant mismatch between fibre and matrix properties results in other surface finish complications, both during curing and environmental exposure. As the matrix cures, shrinkage occurs at the resin rich regions between the carbon fibre bundles, resulting in an uneven surface profile. Also, exposure of the cured composite to high temperature and humidity causes the resin rich regions at the surface to expand and contract due to the high coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and moisture absorption.

In addition, these resins must be cured in a matter of minutes in order to meet the strict cycle times of the automotive industry.

Although there are some commercial resins marketed as providing a surface finish solution, these resins generally provide a void free composite surface that can be easily sanded and painted, with reduced shrinkage. It has recently come to light that the chemistry of these commercial surface finish resins still have high CTE and moisture absorption, thus not providing a complete surface finish solution and also take in excess of 15 minutes to cure.

Project aim

This work will investigate the development of a low shrinkage resin system that mimics the properties of carbon fibre as close as possible to produce a rapid curing carbon fibre automotive composite.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Please apply using the expression of interest form


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Mandy de Souza or Prof Russell Varley

Dr Mandy de Souza
Research Fellow In Carbon Fibres
Email Mandy de Souza
+61 3 522 73203

Prof Russell Varley
Professor of Composite Materials
Email Russell Varley
+61 3 524 79577