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EPSRC DTP studentship - Enhancing the Sustainability of Aluminium Production and Products

University of Cambridge - Department of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cambridge
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th November 2018
Closes: 14th January 2019
Reference: NM17335

This project is associated with the EPSRC LightForm programme, led by Manchester University, with Cambridge University and Imperial College.  The goals of LightForm are to provide enabling science to underpin the next generation of wrought light alloy products, primarily for transport applications.  Embedding materials engineering into manufacturing practice will drive both improved performance and greater sustainability in applications of Al, Mg and Ti alloys.

This project is in collaboration with Norsk Hydro (Norway and UK), with a focus on forming of heat-treatable Al alloys, within the wider context of future flows of cast and wrought alloys.  As the Al industry strives for an increasingly circular economy, there is an urgent need to address the implications of composition evolution on the formability, microstructure and final properties of wrought alloys. This brings challenges for two specific reasons: (a) contamination from conventional alloy recovery systems; (b) the growth in availability of high Si casting alloys as the automotive sector moves from IC engines to electric power.

A number of research objectives may be pursued, depending on the interests of the student, and future discussions with Norsk Hydro:

  • Application of through-process modelling to track the influence of compositional trends from ingot casting to forming, welding and heat treatment.
  • Targeted experimental and modelling work on key process steps, e.g. extrudability and ageing of high Si 6000 series alloys.
  • Exploration of "alloy compensation", i.e. further alloying additions to counteract detrimental effects of increasing impurity levels in wrought alloys.
  • Investigation of the impact of high recycle fraction alloys on emerging forming and joining processes.

Part of the project will also investigate the global flows of Al alloys, to quantify the likely changes in supply of recycled cast and wrought products, and to explore the potential for innovative new markets for recycled cast Al alloys.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering, or Materials Science/Engineering. Applicants should also note that some prior knowledge of finite element methods would be an advantage.

EPSRC DTP studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students or provide fees only for EU students from outside the UK. Further details about eligibility can be found at:

To express interest in this studentship, please send your two page CV, plus copies of transcripts of all Bachelors/Masters degree courses, to Dr Hugh Shercliff ( to arrive no later than 14 January 2019.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £60 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: The final deadline for PhD applications is 30 June 2019, although it is advisable to apply earlier than this.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

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