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PhD Studentship - Computational Design of Mechanical Metamaterials for Industrial Design and Engineering Applications

University of Liverpool - School of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Liverpool
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: A grant of a minimum of £14,500 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 1st March 2019
Closes: 26th April 2019

Supervisor and their email address: Dr Pooya Sareh,

BACKGROUND: Mechanical metamaterials are engineered structures with unusual/desirable mechanical properties arising from their artificial structural geometry, rather than from their material composition. For example, some mechanical metamaterials are known to exhibit negative Poisson's ratio (auxetics), including tailored variations of graphene and origami-inspired reconfigurable structures. Recent applications of auxetic materials include impact protection devices embedded in sports apparel and equipment, composite aerospace structures, and scaffolds for tissue engineering.

AIM and SCOPE:  We aim to develop new geometric concepts for 2D and 3D mechanical metamaterials using a systematic approach, and demonstrate their performance using computational and experimental tools. This research project has the following aims:

1) To develop novel geometrical and topological designs for mechanical metamaterials, taking inspirations from nature, as well as from creative arts fields such as origami, kirigami, and ornament design.

2) To characterise the mechanical properties of the designed metamaterials numerically (using FEA) and validate them experimentally using additive manufacturing and mechanical testing facilities.

3) To explore real-world applications for the developed designs, and develop proof-of-concept prototypes.

RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT: The Creative design engineering lab (Cdel) is an interdisciplinary research group at the University of Liverpool's London Campus. Our vision is to design and develop innovative engineering structures, robotic systems, vehicles, and products, by taking inspiration from natural creatures and creative arts (for more information, please visit: You will work within a vibrant and rapidly growing community of design researchers in the London Campus of the University of Liverpool. Based within the centre of London's business community, we produce highly skilled, commercially aware, work-force ready graduates and support key stakeholders through knowledge exchange, Executive Education, and Continuing Professional Development programmes. In addition, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from our Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), the leading UK centre for Virtual Engineering expertise, which delivers technology development, the latest research, training and knowledge transfer around the application and adoption of advanced modelling, simulation and 3D immersive visualisation in support of product design and manufacturing innovation.

FUNDING: This is an EPSRC fully funded DTA studentship for three years. It covers all fees and provides a grant of a minimum of £14,500 per annum. To be eligible for this funding, you must be a UK citizen or an EU national who has resided in the UK for a minimum of three years prior to taking up the post.

REQUIRED SKILLS: We are seeking candidates with a minimum of 2:1 (or equivalent) first degree in Mechanical, Aerospace, Structural, or Design Engineering, or a related subject. Strong analytical and computational skills is essential. Previous experience or knowledge in one or more of the following areas is highly desirable:

1) Finite Element Analysis (FEA);

2) Experimental Structural Characterisation;

3) Geometrical/Topological Optimisation;

4) CAD and 3D Printing;

5) Symmetry Analysis;

6) Parametric Modelling.

Furthermore, strong communication, interdisciplinary approach and team working skills are required.

HOW TO APPLY:  Candidates are strongly encouraged to contact Dr Pooya Sareh prior to application, in order to highlight their interest in the topic: Please apply through the University of Liverpool’s online system with a full Curriculum Vitae, covering letter, and contact details for at least two academic references.

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