3 year PhD Studentship in Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM)

University of Nottingham - Engineering

Title: “Metal jetting for additive manufacturing: exploring the new frontier of digital metal 3D printing”

We are interested in working with a student who could lead a research programme on an innovative manufacturing technique that has the potential to move metal 3D printing beyond its current limits. Metal printing is currently based on powder-bed fusion techniques. These techniques involve the spreading of a layer of a metal powder material on top of a partial object followed by selective melting of the portion which comprises the new layer by a laser (or an electron) beam. The concerns regarding these techniques come from the fact that these processes are not-cost effective for many industrial applications and, often, the printed parts suffer of poor quality (dimensional accuracy, tolerances, and density). In view of the need for a better and more efficient metal AM technology, and as a result of extensive collaborative research between our Centre and “Océ-Technologies B.V.- A Canon Group”, a new method for creating three-dimensional solid objects by depositing molten metal has now been developed and is now exclusively available in our laboratories. The new method is based on the fully digital 3D printing technology, the MetalJet. This printing process works by laying down each voxel of a desired digital object in form of liquid metal droplets. The droplets are dispensed one at a time, and deposited in rows and then layers onto a solid base until the entire part is created. The process does not entail the use of costly equipment and inventories for metallic powders as droplets are generated “on-demand” from molten metal feedstock and for this reason provides a superior alternative to the current powder bed fusion techniques. Highly accurate solid objects are formed by microscopic droplets that, upon impact, weld together.

The objective of the offered research programme is to establish the relationship between the MetalJet processing conditions and the microstructure of the objects formed by this novel technique. By understanding the dynamics associated to the metal droplets impacts and their solidification as a function of the printing parameters the candidate will have the opportunity to advance the state-of-the-art of metal printing with discoveries of great academic and industrial interest. During the programme continuous or graded structures of desirable metals (and alloys) will be investigated to explore the applicability of MetalJet to the electronics and medical industry. Based on the findings, the research will progress towards the characterisation and comparison of the physical and mechanical properties of the printed parts to those properties found in articles formed by conventional metal AM techniques.

The ideal candidate should have experience or a strong interest in additive manufacturing, materials science, metallurgy and general material characterisation techniques.

Requirements of the studentship:

Due to funding restrictions, the position is only open to UK/EU candidates.

Candidate must have a first-class or 2:1 degree in Engineering, or Science related discipline.

Please send a copy of your covering letter, CV and academic transcripts to CfAM@nottingham.ac.uk. Please note applications without academic transcripts will not be considered.

Candidates will be available to start on 1st October 2018.

Please refer to the project title when sending your application.

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Midlands of England