HDR Scholarship - Atomic-scale analysis of hydrogen interaction with pipeline steel

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Atomic-scale analysis of hydrogen interaction with pipeline steel'.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision


Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP), Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Under the forthcoming hydrogen economy, future and existing pipelines and storage systems will be required to carry, store, and transmit hydrogen-containing fuels. However, in the presence of pressurised hydrogen carrying gases, various deteriorative phenomena such as hydrogen embrittlement can occur, especially in high strength steels.

Accurate quantification and spatial location of hydrogen in the microstructure of metals is an important step in better understanding the mechanisms of hydrogen embrittlement and specifically for applications such as hydrogen-carrying high-pressure steel pipelines. Atom probe tomography (APT) has been reported to have the highest spatial resolution for hydrogen measurement, however there are significant challenges using the technique for this purpose due to the nature of the atom probe specimen preparation (including hydrogen charging process), and the extremely high diffusivity of hydrogen atoms. This project leverages the outcomes from a recent Future Fuels CRC research project, where a novel electrochemical hydrogen charging method for APT specimens was developed and tested. The results from this work demonstrated that this new method allows hydrogen charging of steel APT specimens, facilitating the use of APT for the examination of hydrogen distribution in steel.

Project aim

This project is a collaboration between researchers at the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) and the School of Engineering, and will utilise the outstanding capability of our state-of-the-art atom probe instrument (LEAP 5000 XR) at the Deakin Advanced Characterisation Facility within IFM. The experimental design of the project will push the boundaries of application of this advanced characterisation technique to research the effects of hydrogen interaction with steel, which is a very hot topic now and is being followed with interest in both the academic and industry sectors. APT characterisation has the potential to reveal chemical and metallurgical root causes of hydrogen embrittlement, revolutionising our current understanding of related materials failure phenomena such as hydrogen-induced cracking and fatigue.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,900 per annum tax exempt (2022 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate currently residing in Australia. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • 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 Find a Research Supervisor tool


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof Ross Marceau

A/Prof Ross Marceau
Email A/Prof Ross Marceau
+61 3 522 71283