HDR Scholarship - Increasing the toughness of thermoplastic composites as a route to composite hydrogen pressure vessels

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Increasing the toughness of thermoplastic composites as a route to composite hydrogen pressure vessels'.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision


GTP Research


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Recent work within our research group has shown that by varying the surface chemistry in short fibre thermoplastic composites we have significantly increased the toughness (i.e. ability to deform and dissipate energy). This is unusual for composites which typically suffer from poor fiber-to-polymer adhesion or poor impact resistance.

This approach may provide a route to materials with contradictory properties, such as being a material that does not make the typically observe physical trade offs, such as high stiffness at the expense of ductility, strong but sacrificing toughness.

An area that requires the use if high toughness and high compression strength materials is in pressure vessels. These vessels undergo various stresses at one time and must be able to withstand accidental damage, such as falls and drops without fracture or delamination. These properties translate to a variety of other areas such as wind energy, ballistics, and blast shields.

The use of thermoplastic composites is on the rise due to recycling requirements in many areas, thought these still pose a significant challenge in the fundamental material performance. I work with several companies who provide these parts, polymers, and fibres for these applications and this would be a good strategic value add for them. A key partner of the project will be Gen2Carbon (formerly ELG Carbon) who are the world's largest supplier of reclaimed carbon fibres. IFM have several projects with them relating to functional and sustainable materials.

Project aim

This project will use chemical means of interface and interphase modification to imbue novel composites with properties which are desirable in this area. A notably point of work will be in the use of recycled and reclaimed carbon fibres as the reinforcing phase, providing a high value application from reclaimed materials usually destined for landfill.

This project combines composites and innovative chemistry to generate a material with outstanding properties. The direct application of these materials into the hydrogen sector, and the potential to incorporate recycled and reclaimed carbon fibre from an existing company hits all of the key themes within IFM.

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

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic 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 Prof Luke Henderson

Prof Luke Henderson
Email Prof Luke Henderson
+61 3 522 72767