Investigate optimal parameters for the laser welding Polymers

IT (Institute of Technology), Sligo

Background.

The Institute's Centre for Precision Engineering, Materials and Manufacturing research (PEM Research Centre) is a partner in a successful Interreg 1.1 application that is developing an Advanced Manufacturing Research programme specifically for the Health and Life Science Sector. The other main academic partners include Catalyst, University of Ulster, LyIT, and University of Glasgow in addition to a number of manufacturing companies. The programme will fund a number of PhD and Post-doctoral projects that are industrially focused. The areas that the proposed research programme include are: sustainable manufacturing, with the PEM Research Centre leading out on advanced polymer products; nano-manufacturing; and also polymeric and metallic Additive Manufacturing. The PEM Research Centre is collaborating with Abbott Diagnostics based in Sligo on one of the Industrial research projects within the programme and now has an opportunity to recruit a PhD researcher to work specifically on this project.

Purpose

The PhD researcher will contribute to the Abbott project “Investigate optimal parameters for the laser welding of polymers” working with Principal Investigators Dr. David Tormey and Dr. Richard Sherlock. Specifically, the role will contribute to developing specific knowledge in the following areas: laser materials processing (specifically laser welding of polymers), laser process characterization and control, polymer science, numerical modeling methods relevant to heat dissipation. The successful candidate will also be expected to contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and research proposals as well as help in setting a direction for this complex and challenging project as opportunities allow.

Funding

The project is fully funded under the Interreg VA program for three years.  As well as providing funding for equipment and materials there is a dedicated budget to support training and participation in international conferences. A generous stipend of €18,500 plus fees per year will be available for the right candidate and is at a level that may be attractive to candidates considering pursuing a PhD after some time in industry.

PhD project specification

Overall: Develop a finite element model of a through transmission laser welding process that realistically models heat transfer in open-loop configuration and also with in-line process monitoring/control.  Validate the model against designed experiment in laser welding.

1) Review state-of-the-art in diode-laser based through-transmission polymer welding.

2) Identify common failure modes                                          

3) Evaluate the effectiveness of various in-line process monitoring/control techniques

4) Develop a demonstrator test method

5) Participate in the specification and installation of laser welding system including selected process      monitoring/control technologies

6) Perform a series of designed experiments to validate/refine the FE model

7) Evaluate the performance of the welds through

  • Mechanical strength tests
  • “Peel” tests
  • Pressure, vacuum or other test of joint integrity
  • Cross-sectioning of weld and identification/measurement of heat-affected zones

8) Use the FE model and/or experimental results to identify viable approaches to achieving process improvements

The expected output of the project will be new knowledge contributing to the state-of-the-art in laser through transmission welding of polymer materials.  The student will make contributions through presentations at major international conferences and publications in high impact factor peer-review journals.

Candidate should have minimum 2.1 Hons Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering, Applied Physics, Materials Science or other cognate area. The PhD student will be working as part of a team involving the academic supervisors, postdocs as well as other PhD students pursuing projects in similar areas. Candidates will need show that they are capable of working in a team environment, but also that they can “self-start” and work unsupervised when required.  It is also expected that the student will be capable of innovative thinking and problem solving. This project is being carried out with the close cooperation with the Industrial partner Abbott.  Candidates should possess characteristics and attributes that equip them well for working in such a collaboration.

Other General Duties and Responsibilities:

Perform the following activities in conjunction with and under the guidance of the Principal/Co Investigator and Industry partner:

  1. Plan and conduct assigned research individually or jointly in accordance with the project deliverables and PEM Centre’s research strategy.
  2. Survey the research literature and environment, understand the research challenges associated with the project & subject area, & develop/implement a suitable research strategy.
  3. Document research output including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting technical/progress reports and papers as appropriate.
  4. Participate in communication with Abbott diagnostics.
  5. Develop and enhance research profile and reputation and that of the Institute of Technology Sligo, PEM Research Centre/School of Engineering and Design, including contributing to publications of international quality in high profile/quality refereed journals, enhancing the research impact in terms of economic/societal benefit, and gathering indicators of esteem.
  6. Contribute to the presentation of work at international and national conferences, at internal and external seminars, colloquia and workshops to develop and enhance the PEM Centre’s research profile.
  7. Contribute to the identification of potential funding sources and to assist in the development of proposals to secure funding from internal and external bodies to support future research.
  8. Collaborate with academic colleagues and participate in team/group meetings/seminars/workshops across the Institute’s Research community and wider regional shareholder community (e.g Academic and Industrial Partners).
  9. Contribute to safety management related to the organisation and running of PEM Research Laboratory and/or Experimental techniques, equipment and processes as appropriate.
  10. Keep up to date with current knowledge and recent advances in the field/discipline.
  11. Undertake any other duties of equivalent standing as assigned by the Lead PI/Co-PI or postdoctoral researcher team.
  12. Establish and sustain a track record of independent and joint published research to establish and maintain PEM Research Centre’s research reputation in the subject area.

These key tasks are not intended to be exhaustive but simply highlight a number of major tasks which the successful candidate may be reasonably expected to perform.

Application Process:

Interested applicants should send a cover letter and CV by email to Dr. David Tormey, dtormey@itsligo.ie  with subject line ‘Abbott PhD Project’.

Contact:

For informal enquires please contact Dr. David Tormey, dtormey@itsligo.ie , +353-71-91-55496

Acknowledgement: This project is supported by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).