Four-Year EngD Scholarship with the National Composites Centre: “Process Simulation of Automated Deposition”

University of Bristol - Faculty of Engineering

Project Outline:

Automated Tape Laying (ATL) and Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) are forms of additive manufacturing: the process of joining materials to make parts from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer. AFP has been at the core of the NCC capabilities since the centre was opened in 2010. This capability is currently being expanded to include other Automated Deposition technologies, a hybrid AFP/ATL machine and wide fabric layup machine. The project builds on a number of AFP projects, experimental and simulation focused, as wells as on the process knowledge developed through two NCC sponsored EngD projects.

The aim of this project is to develop an industry viable process modelling solution for multi-material automated deposition of advanced composite materials. In particular, the project is concerned with the definition, development, and validation of a robust model of the automated deposition process of thermoset, thermoplastic, and dry fibre materials by Automated Tape Laying and Automated Fibre Placement.

The EngD candidate will be expected to be an integral part of multiple NCC project teams, providing the opportunity and challenge to develop the NCC automated deposition process modelling capabilities to serve the complex needs of the NCC industrial customers. The focus will be on the identification, evaluation, and integration of existing models, which were previously developed in an academic environment, into an integrated, validated, and practical process modelling solution that industry can use in the definition of the manufacturing process for new complex composites components. While the project has a simulation focus, the EngD candidate will be expected to get involved in the definition and execution of the experimental work required to support the development and validation of the process model.

While it is expected that the bulk of both the simulation and experimental work will be carried out at the NCC, the EngD candidate will be expected to identify opportunities for collaboration with academic institutions, research centres, and commercial organisation which can be beneficial to the successful delivery of the project. The exploitation of such collaboration will be highly encouraged.

Within the first 12 months, the EngD candidate is expected to:

  • Carry out a comprehensive critical literature review on the relevant topics;
  • Acquire familiarity with the automated deposition systems available at the NCC, understanding the fundamentals, the potential, and the limitations of the technologies;
  • Define the architecture of the process simulation tool;
  • Deliver at least one working module of the simulation tool.

PLEASE NOTE: Applications are considered as soon as they are received, and the position will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

How to apply: If you are interested in applying for this EngD project please send your CV, covering letter and academic transcript to:

Candidate requirements:


An upper second-class degree (or equivalent qualification) in an appropriate discipline.


Stipend: £20k p.a.

Standard EPSRC studentship eligibility criteria apply:


For further information about the IDC and the EngD programme please visit: or contact:

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South West England