PhD Scholarship: Hydrogen Embrittlement Of Gas Pipeline Steels

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

With an excellent reputation for quality graduate training and research performance, the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering delivers a comprehensive range of programs in aerospace, materials, mechanical, mechatronic and mining engineering.

Boasting strong student enrolments in professionally accredited programs, combined with world-class researchers and facilities, we are focused on strengthening our position in the engineering community. We will develop global solutions to contemporary issues and mentor the leaders of tomorrow by attracting the brightest minds and fostering a truly innovative and collaborative work environment.

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Research environment

UQ ranks in the top 50 as measured by the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. The University also ranks 46 in the QS World University Rankings, 42 in the US News Best Global Universities Rankings, 66 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 54 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

About This Opportunity

Supervisor - Professor Andrejs Atrens

This research will have a serious impact on climate mitigation by enabling the use of existing gas transmission pipelines for the transport of hydrogen produced by Solar and Wind at remote locations to population centres, where the hydrogen can be used, converted to electricity, or exported to countries like Japan. This research will define the critical conditions that enable hydrogen storage and transport without hydrogen embrittlement of the steels that make up critical Australian gas transmission pipelines. The research is inspired in part by the Australian Hydrogen Strategy, as advocated by Australia’s Chief Scientist and Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy priorities and delivery.

This research is occurring within the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre and will collaborate with parallel research at the University of Wollongong (UoW) and Deakin University.

The research will evaluate the hydrogen embrittlement (HE) of gas pipeline steels currently used in Australia based on our prior research at UQ based on cathodic hydrogen charging & together with UoW, to lead to the following outputs:

  • an evaluation of the possibility of sub-critical crack growth in the tested pipeline steels,
  • an evaluation of the relationship between hydrogen fugactity and hydrogen charging conditions, using hydrogen permeation experiments and thermal desorption spectroscopy
  • the dependence of the yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, and the fracture toughness of the steels on the hydrogen concentration and steel microstructure, including base material, weld and heat affected zone, and
  • permissible safe operating pressure for each gas transmission pipeline, and tolerable defect sizes.

There are two scholarships available. Each of the two scholars will be working on his/her own project, however there will be considerable scope for collaboration. There will also be considerable scope for collaboration with parallel research at The University of Wollongong, Deakin University and the University of Science and Technology Beijing.

A working knowledge of Materials Engineering, Fracture Mechanics, Hydrogen Embrittlement, Corrosion and Steels would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

Our Ideal Candidate

To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ. Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

What We Can Offer

The 2021 living allowance stipend rate is AUD$30,000 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months in approved circumstances (conditions apply).


For further information, please contact Professor Andrejs Atrens, ************** +61 7 3365 3748

Want to Apply?

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

  • check your eligibility 
  • prepare your documentation
  • contact Professor Andrejs Atrens (************** to discuss your suitability for this scholarship

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘HYDROGEN’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Applications close: 1 October 2020 (11:00 PM) E. Australia Standard Time