PhD Studentship: Hardware in the loop for Mechatronic Rail Vehicle Development

Loughborough University

Application details:
Reference number: WS28
Start date: 1st October 2018
Closing date: 9th March 2018

Primary supervisor: Peter Hubbard
Secondary supervisor: tbc

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%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Graduate School, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Project Detail:
The commissioning process of complex systems such as cars and aircraft have changed in recent years to incorporate a phased systems integration approach where subsystems are validated in isolation before being brought together and testing as a whole. A difficulty in this method is replicating the complex hardware interactions. Hardware in the loop (HiL) methods seek to achieve this by replacing physical coupling with high-power actuators to replicate the transfer of forces from external or internal loads.

An advancement of this method seeks to align actuation techniques with simulation models of the wider system, often realised through detailed simulated synthetic environments such as flight simulators. This provides an opportunity to validate subsystems 'in-situ' before commissioning, but does require the careful management of integrating hardware and software components.

This method provides a unique opportunity to develop and validate novel technologies in a realistic, tangible manner. Results produced in this was often produce visuals that assure stakeholders that performance data captured is believable and fit for purpose - enabling progression of technology that was previously thought of as high-risk.

This project is concerned with exploring this method for proving and de-risking mechatronic rail vehicle solutions for active guidance control. The main research questions are:

 Can wheel/rail forces be replicated using this method?

What are the actuation and sensing requirements to achieve this?

How does this compare to current validation metrics?

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Entry requirements:
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Control Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Control, Systems, Mechatronics or Mechanical 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: Peter Hubbard
Email address:
Telephone number: 01509 227157

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

Please quote reference number: WS28

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Midlands of England