Fully-funded 4 year PhD Studentship: Development of a Modelling Tool for Assessing Superabrasive Grinding of Railway Track

University of Sheffield

Start Date: 3 September 2018
Duration: 4 years
Stipend: Tax free stipend of £18,000 per year, plus all tuition fees paid at UK/EU rates.
Supervisors: Professor Roger Lewis, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Please check eligibility requirements before applying.

Project Description

This PhD offers a unique opportunity to work with Network Rail to develop a new high speed rail grinding technique. Over the last few years we have initiated some small projects assessing the viability of transferring superabrasive grinding techniques used in the aerospace industry to rail grinding, which currently is a very slow, energy consuming process. Current trains run at less than 10 mph which means in the night track possessions available only a few miles of track can be ground. Track grinding is important for removing damage and returning track to an optimised profile for reducing the likelihood of further damage and maintaining ride comfort. Quicker grinding could result in a far more efficient railway network.

The aim of the project will be to develop modelling tools for assessing material removal during the grinding process. These will initially be validated using some single grit testing and subsequently via testing on the high speed rig being developed in a parallel iT-CDT project. These tools will enable wider parameter studies to be carried out than can be achieved via experimental work alone and provide a tool for designing the grinding system that will ultimately be tested on an actual train. We have shown in theory that speeds can be at least tripled using superabrasive techniques as long as the tool can be declogged effectively (we have a novel approach for this).

As well as joining the IDC the student will be part of a team dedicated to the investigation of wheel/rail interface issues so a good support network is available.

Entry requirements and eligibility

Due to EPSRC residency requirements, this project is open only to UK and EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of the course (see How to Apply section).

Applicants must have, or expect to get, a 1st or high 2:1 degree (or Masters with Merit) in a relevant science or engineering subject such as Aerospace, Mechanical, Civil or Materials Engineering or similar. You should be enthusiastic about research with an interest in technology development and innovation in manufacturing.

Candidates must also be able show that their English language proficiency is at a level which allows them to successfully complete the PhD. All applicants require an English language qualification, typically a GCSE or an IELTS test (a score of 7 or above is required, with a minimum of 6 in each component).

If in doubt about any aspect of Eligibility, please email idc-machining-science@sheffield.ac.uk for clarification.

How to Apply

For an informal discussion, in the first instance please contact the IDC Centre Team via idc-machining-science@sheffield.ac.uk.

See How to Apply and follow the instructions carefully.

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