Four-Year EngD Scholarship with the National Composites Centre: “Root Cause and Traceability of Defects from Manufacture to End of Life”

University of Bristol - Faculty of Engineering

Project Outline:

Defects in composite materials may be produced during manufacture or service and can have a detrimental effect on the strength of the composite or cause failure. It is not always clear where a defect has originated. The purpose of this project is to investigate the root cause of defects in composite materials and structures and investigate how they evolve during the course of manufacturing and later on through service. The selected approach is to utilise in-process monitoring and non-destructive testing to determine the origin and follow the evolution of defects throughout the manufacturing process and then further into the life of the component. Using a combination of non-destructive testing highly instrumented mechanical testing and parallel simulation to characterise the defects and their effect on composite properties.

As part of a £32.5 million UK ATI funded investment into new high value manufacturing capabilities, the National Composites Centre is extending its suite of non-destructive testing techniques to improve versatility, defect detection, and speed. This, combined with the design and simulation capabilities at the NCC, provides an opportunity to investigate the root cause of defects and follow them throughout the manufacturing process. This could then in turn be used to generate materials for a training course on defects in composite materials and components.

The EngD candidate will be expected to be an integral part of multiple NCC project teams. This will provide him/her with the opportunity and the challenge of investigating defects generated across a range of manufacturing techniques and applications. The candidate will also drive the development of the characterisation capability, identifying applicable technologies and applying it to a range of different tests.

Initial deliverables are likely to include:

  • Literature review of the causes of defects in composite manufacturing.
  • Completion of training in NDT techniques especially X-ray computed tomography.
  • Design of experiments matrix for evolution of defects.

Project start date: As soon as possible.

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.

Location: National Composites Centre, Bristol.

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

About the IDC and the EngD programme:

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

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