PhD Studentship: Testing and Modelling of Mechanical Performance of 3D-Printed Shape-Memory-Alloy Stents

Loughborough University

Preferred Start date (if any): October 2017/ January 2018


Primary supervisor: Prof Liguo Zhao

Secondary supervisor: Prof Vadim Silberschmidt

Find out more about Loughborough University:

Project Detail:

Peripheral arterial disease refers to partial or total block of peripheral arteries due to the accumulation of fatty deposits on the vessel wall. The disease imposes a progressive damage to patients’ health and wellbeing due to the restriction of blood supply to leg muscles. Typical symptoms include pain when walking and dying of leg tissue. The disease can be effectively treated by vascular stents which are essentially meshes of synthetic materials used to reopen the blocked blood vessels. However, stenting in peripheral arteries has proved problematic, given the complexity of the disease and constant exposure to severe biomechanical forces. This research aims to develop smart stents for treatment of complex periphery artery stenosis in the lower limbs. Superelastic shape memory alloy, Nitinol, will be used in this study, as the material is extremely flexible and can automatically recover its original shape even after very large deformation (smart nature). Stents made of Nitinol demonstrate high conformability to the complex vessel geometry in diseased regions.

The candidate will join the vibrant Mechanics of Advanced Materials research group at Loughborough University, and also collaborate with University of Birmingham and Manchester Metropolitan University. Mechanical behaviour of Nitinol samples and stents, produced by additive manufacturing (3D printing) at University of Birmingham, will be tested at Loughborough using a stent crimper and a microtester fitted with an environmental bath. Samples and stents, both as-received and tested, will undergo SEM/TEM/EBSD characterisation to gain further insights of the material behaviour. In addition, finite element simulations of stent deformation will be carried out, including in-vitro and in-silico modelling of local deformation of the stent-artery system. Simulation results will be compared with in-vitro experimental results obtained by Manchester Metropolitan University. The research outcome will serve as a driving force to boost the development of advanced endovascular therapies, especially for complex and critical diseases in vulnerable patients such as ageing populations.

Funding information:

Please note that up to 4 studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants to this project and/or the following projects that have been prioritised for funding; job advert ref: NM180717, LZ190717, CL270717, PK200717, RM280717, TB281707 & SM280717.

If awarded, each 3 year studentship will provide a tax-free stipend of £14,553 p.a, plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,195 p.a). While we welcome applications from non EU nationals, please be advised that it will only be possible to fund the tuition fees at the international rate and no stipend will be available. Successful candidates will be notified by 15/11/2017.

Find out more about the research group:

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering, Solid Mechanics, Applied Mathematics, Materials Science, Physics or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in 1 or more of the following will be an advantage: Mechanical Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering, Solid Mechanics, Applied Mathematics, Materials Science, Physics.

Contact details:

Name: Liguo Zhao

Email address:

Telephone number:  0044 1509 227799

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under Mechanical Engineering , Wolfson School  

Please quote reference number: LZ190717

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Midlands of England