Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Energy and Electronic Engineering

Start dates

October 2021

Application deadline

4 May 2021 (12.00pm GMT)

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2021.

The PhD will be based in the School of Energy and Electronic Engineering and will be supervised by Dr Lei Kang.

UK and EU candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available; these cover tuition fees at the UK rate for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,609 for 2021/22). Bursary recipients will also receive a £1,500 p.a. for project costs/consumables.  

International candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for a Portsmouth Global PhD scholarship. Successful candidates will receive a scholarship to cover tuition fees at an international rate for three years, a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,609 for 2021/22), and one return flight to London during the duration of the course. Bursary recipients will also receive a £1,500 p.a. for project costs/consumables.

The work on this project could involve

  • Establishing design theories and developing multi-physics finite element models for flexural ultrasonic transducers for flow measurements
  • Multi-objective optimal design of flexural ultrasonic transducers capable of operating at high frequencies (above 100 kHz) with relatively wide bandwidth (> 10% of operating frequency) in high temperature (above 200 oC) and/or elevated pressure (up to 200 bar) environments
  • Characterisation and experimental investigation of the ultrasonic transducers in high temperature and/or elevated pressure environments
  • Investigation of the configurations of multiple ultrasonic paths in a meter body and develop a multipath ultrasonic flow meter prototype capable of operating in hostile environments

Ultrasonic flow meters play a significant role in the fields of energy and environment and have been widely adopted in energy and custody transfer measurements, process and control applications, and monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions from flare stacks. As the core of an ultrasonic flow meter, ultrasonic transducers directly determine the overall performance of the meter. 

The flexural ultrasonic transducer (FUT) is a type of transducers capable of generating and receiving ultrasonic waves in fluids with high transduction efficiency and superior mechanical robustness, having great potential in flow measurement applications in hostile environments. This project will investigate the design theories of FUTs, develop a new type of high-frequency FUTs being able to operate in hostile environments, and develop an ultrasonic flow meter prototype based on the FUT technique. 

This research follows the supervisor’s previous research in the EU-funded project (Steerable Air-Coupled Ultrasonic Technology for Flow Measurement and NDE Applications) and in the EPSRC-funded project (High Frequency Flexural Ultrasonic Transducers – A New Class of Transducer), where a series of FUTs and flow meters have been developed. 

The research topic of this project perfectly fits into the main themes of energy and environment in the School of Energy and Electronic Engineering at UoP. As an expert in ultrasonics, Dr Lei Kang has supervised / participated in 13 research projects funded by various EU, UK and Chinese organisations, has published over 70 research papers, has held 5 patent applications and has had his work acknowledged externally.

The project will be a fundamental research with high commercial value. The PhD applicant will receive comprehensive training in various aspects, including but not limited to theoretical analysis, experimental skills, instrument development and project management, which has proved a great help for enhancing the employability of the candidate in the fields of energy, instrumentation and flow measurement.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

You should be skilful at analogue and digital electronics and digital signal processing technique. Familiarity with FPGA (field programmable gate array), micro-controller and finite element analysis technology. Having previous project experience is welcomed.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Lei Kang ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SENE5920521 when applying.