PhD Studentship: Hybrid Additive Manufacturing of Smart Structures

Loughborough University

Application details:
Reference number: WS15
Start date: 1st October 2018
Closing date: 9th March 2018

Primary supervisor: Dr Xiaoxiao Han
Secondary supervisor: Prof Liguo Zhao; Dr Andy Gleadall

Intro (standard):
Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

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Project Detail:
This PhD project will develop a hybrid process for manufacturing smart structures additively. The property of the smart structure may change as a result of external stimulus. They can be achieved by optimising the micro-shape, the elements of a composites and producing the structure using hybrid additive manufacturing processes. Taking self-healing materials/structurers as an example, which has the build-in ability to automatically repair damage to themselves without any external diagnosis. The repair mechanism is that it contains a repair agent in a microscopic vessel or sphere as additives in the structure. By carefully designing the microstructure of spheres and selecting the appropriate chemical agent, a controlled mechanism could be achieved.

There are three main stages of this PhD project, which will be focused on to a greater or lesser degree depending on the candidate. Firstly, computational modelling will be developed to guide the design of structure following required mechanism. Computer models may be developed for micro-stress analysis, chemical diffusion/transportation analysis, interface degradation and/or mechanical failure analysis. Secondly, a hybrid additive manufacturing process will be developed to achieve the smart structure manufacturing. Two potential additive manufacturing technologies include material extrusion and vat photopolymerization. The hybrid process will contain either or both of above with additional modifications. Finally, experimental activities will be carried out to characterise the smart properties of the structures, such as mechanical testing or polymer degradation studies. The detailed project will be tailored to the individual candidate depending on their interests. Candidates with an interest in any of the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply: additive manufacturing, machine development, and/or computer simulation.

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Entry requirements:
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Additive Manufacturing, Computational Modelling for Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. 

Funding information:
Please note that these studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or the following 30 projects that have been prioritised for funding; advert ref: WS01 – WS30

If awarded, each 3 year studentship will provide a tax-free stipend of £14,786 p.a (provisional), plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,262 p.a). While we welcome applications from non EU nationals, please be advised that due to funding restrictions 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 30th April 2018.

Contact details:
Name: Xiaoxiao Han
Email address: 
Telephone number: +44(0)1509 227619 

How to apply:
All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering

Please quote reference number: WS15

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Midlands of England