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3 PhD Studentships

University of Strathclyde

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Glasgow
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,600 - please see advert
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 19th November 2021
Closes: 31st December 2021
 

1: Boeing and NMIS 4 year PhD studentship - Room temperature flow forming of aerospace titanium components

Overview

This four-year PhD study will address several key areas of knowledge on flow forming.

  • Opens: Tuesday 25th May 2021
  • Deadline: Friday 31st December 2021
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 48 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend

Eligibility

Qualifications & experience

To commence either 1st of October 2021 or January 2022

This four year studentship is available for students who possess a first class or 2.1 (Honours), or equivalent EU/International qualification in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, or another relevant discipline. The candidate should have the following technical experience and personal skills:

  • self-motivated individual with skills and/or interest in metals processing, or process modelling
  • knowledge in solid state mechanics would be an advantage but is not essential
  • a proactive approach, with initiative and ability to work independently
  • ability to synthesise, summarise, and draw conclusions
  • strength to cope with schedules and deadlines
  • excellent organisational and communication skills
  • excellent written and spoken English

Find out more about this exciting PhD opportunity by clicking through the tabs above.

To commence either 1st of October 2021 or January 2022

This four year studentship is available for students who possess a first class or 2.1 (Honours), or equivalent EU/International qualification in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, or another relevant discipline. The candidate should have the following technical experience and personal skills:

  • self-motivated individual with skills and/or interest in metals processing, or process modelling
  • knowledge in solid state mechanics would be an advantage but is not essential
  • a proactive approach, with initiative and ability to work independently
  • ability to synthesise, summarise, and draw conclusions
  • strength to cope with schedules and deadlines
  • excellent organisational and communication skills
  • excellent written and spoken English

Find out more about this exciting PhD opportunity by clicking through the tabs above.

Project Details

CNC-based flow forming is a manufacturing technology for precision forming of cylindrical components. The wall thickness of a cylindrical preform is incrementally reduced by stretching and extruding it out through the application of forming rollers which flow the material along a mandrel. It’s a highly controlled process that allows for the creation of long cylindrical components with varying wall thicknesses and complex geometries. However, adoption of flow forming by the aerospace industry is limited, primarily due to lack on detailed understanding on how aerospace grade materials respond to the process, and the applicability of the technique for complex geometries and critical components.

Various cylindrical titanium components for aerospace applications are currently manufactured from solid billets leading to a poor material utilisation and high cost. Flow forming of titanium offers significant economic benefits for the production of thin-wall cylindrical components. Typically preforms are elongated by a factor of 3-4 during flow forming thereby improving the material utilisation by the same factor. However, room temperature forming of titanium is challenging owing to the limited number of slip systems available in HCP titanium. Reports in the literature highlight the importance of initial microstructure and deformation heating to successfully flow form titanium parts without preheating/external heat source.

This four-year PhD study will address several key areas of knowledge on flow forming:

  • a finite element model will be developed to guide experimental trials, design suitable tooling to control the stress state and maximise flow formability, and to utilise deformation heating for room temperature flow forming of Ti64 parts
  • initial trials will identify reduction limits during one-pass flow forming; possibility of multi-pass flow forming with intermediate annealing to achieve a greater wall thickness reduction will be evaluated as well
  • the effect of initial microstructure will be evaluated as well by using preforms with different starting microstructures (for example, preforms extracted from Ø100 and 400mm Ti64 bar as well as powder preforms)
  • microstructure evolution during flow forming, mechanical properties and final geometry will be characterised to define and test post-forming processing in terms of machining and heat treatment; final mechanical properties will be compared to the material processed more traditional manufacturing methods
  • a possibility of applying the same approach (through the use of deformation heating and careful design of flow forming tooling) for flow forming other alloys that are typically considered to be challenging for room temperature forming will be explored
  • the information obtained in this project will be used to identify the geometric features that can be achieved through flow forming and to flow form several demonstrator components
  • finally, cost analysis will be carried out to compare flow forming (including preform fabrication methods) to more traditional manufacturing methods for titanium components.
Funding details

This fully-funded four year PhD opportunity is supported by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and Boeing, and will cover Home Fees and Stipend. We'll only accept applications from international students who confirm in their email application that they're able to pay the difference between the Home and International fees (approximately £17,500 per annum). The Stipend is not to be used to cover fees. If you're unable to cover this cost the application will be rejected.

Supervisors:

Professor Paul Blackwell
Professor Of Practice
Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management

Dr. Jianglin Huang
F I T Process Modelling Theme Lead
Advanced Forming Research Centre

Funding

Due to funding restrictions this position is only available for UK or European Union candidates. Students from the EU will need to begin studies on the 1st of July 2021.

The funding covers tuition fees and tax-free annual maintenance payments of at least the UK Research Council minimum (currently around £15,600) per annum for 4 years. We'll only accept applications from international students who confirm in their email application that they are able to pay the difference between the Home/EU and International fees (approximately £17,500 per annum). The Stipend is not to be used to cover fees. If you're unable to cover this cost the application will be rejected.

2. Surface Treatments & Evaluation Methods for Industrial Hot Forging Operations

Overview

This project will evaluate and derisk a candidate HIPIMS coating in terms of hot forging a nickel-base superalloy. Performance will be benchmarked against conventional die surface treatments.

Key facts
  • Opens: Tuesday 26th October 2021
  • Deadline: Friday 31st December 2021
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend

Eligibility

This studentship is available for students who possess a first-class or 2.1 (Honours), or equivalent EU/International qualification in mechanical engineering, materials science, or another relevant discipline. The candidate should have the following technical experience and personal skills:

  • self-motivated individual with skills and/or interest in metals processing, or process modelling
  • knowledge in solid state mechanics would be an advantage but is not essential
  • a proactive approach, with initiative and ability to work independently
  • ability to synthesise, summarise, and draw conclusions
  • strength to cope with schedules and deadlines
  • excellent organisational and communication skills
  • excellent written and spoken English
Project Details

Hot forging of nickel-base superalloys is a key manufacturing operation in terms of the aerospace, power, and nuclear industries. Due to high, cyclical mechanical, thermal and tribological loads, however, this process is particularly prone to deterioration of die surface condition over the course of a run. This ultimately necessitates production stoppage for changeover, and resources are required to repair the worn die set and rework out of tolerance components. Financial ramifications in terms of yield and expenditure can be significant, i.e., as high as 30% of production costs. Consequently, a surface treatment that improves damage resistance beyond that of the state of the art potentially has considerable benefits.

Since the early 2000s, the combination of a nitrided layer with a physical vapour deposition (PVD) coating (a so-called duplex treatment) has been considered one of the most effective such treatments. The nitrided layer increases substrate resistance to plastic deformation and cracking and protects the coating from loss of cohesion and adhesion. The coating protects the nitrided substrate surface from abrasion and thermal effects and can reduce the coefficient of friction. In recent years, high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS) technology has enabled PVD coatings with enhanced adhesion, superior density, and higher H/E ratios. However, HIPIMS coatings are as yet unexplored in this capacity.

Ultimately this project will evaluate and derisk a candidate HIPIMS coating in terms of hot forging a nickel-base superalloy. Performance will be benchmarked against conventional die surface treatments. To achieve this: (1) a hot forging wear test within a full-scale press will be developed, and (2) a modified version of the upsetting sliding friction test will be constructed and retrofitted to a universal testing machine. Such capability development is necessary because the extreme tribo-conditions and tendency for interplay of wear modes that occur in hot forging render commercially available tribometers inadequate. Furthermore, there is presently no accepted best way to accurately reproduce these aspects in a controlled environment. When coupled with the risk averse nature of the forging industry, this is a principal reason for the low uptake of technological innovation in this area. Within the UK research sector, the AFRC has unique access to industrial-scale forging presses and is thus well-positioned to develop tests to rectify this situation.

The methodology behind evaluating wear resistance will be for the student to employ material testing and FE-methods to design a die geometry that will promote wear without yield and to determine optimal billet dimensions. Analyses will be conducted to characterise and quantify abrasive wear, adhesive wear, surface fatigue, thermal fatigue, mechanical fatigue, thermal-mechanical fatigue, thermal softening, and plastic deformation. For the friction tests, the student will research mechanical and electrical components and employ FE-methods to construct an upsetting sliding test configuration that reproduces critical hot forging operational parameters. Analyses will be conducted to obtain quantitative and qualitative insight into process friction.

This PhD project will be supported by The National HIPIMS Technology Centre, Sheffield Hallam University. They will apply all HIPIMS coatings necessary for testing and collaborate with analysis, e.g., Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, micohardness. It is important to highlight that the candidate HIPIMS coating has previously achieved a 10x increase in tool life for an industrial hot rolling operation at 900°C.

Subsequent to the necessary supporting data being obtained, the AFRC supervisor, Dr Christopher Fleming, and Professor Hovsepian at The National HIPIMS Technology Centre plan to apply for Innovate UK funding to facilitate industrial production trials and implementation.

Further information

Through this project, the student will become proficient in materials testing, finite element simulations, 3D CAD design software, and analysis techniques including 3D optical profilometry, coordinate measuring machines and scanning electron microscopy.

Funding details

We will only accept applications from international students who confirm in their email application that they are able to pay the difference between the Home and International fees (approximately £17,500 per annum). The Stipend is not to be used to cover fees. If you are unable to cover this cost the application will be rejected.

Supervisors:

Dr. Evgenia Yakushina
Forming Team Lead
Advanced Forming Research Centre

Dr. Christopher Fleming
Tribology & Coatings Theme Lead
Advanced Forming Research Centre

3. Developing a digital twin for next generation forging of high-value titanium alloy components

Overview

The goal of the project is to develop a digital twin of state-of-the-art open and closed die hot forging processes used for manufacturing high-performance titanium alloy components. This will be achieved by developing novel experimentally-informed multi-scale materials simulations to build up forging behaviour maps as a function of the manufacturing variables.

Key facts
  • Opens: Tuesday 5th October 2021
  • Deadline: Monday 31st January 2022
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 42 months
  • Funding: International fee, Home fee, Stipend

Eligibility

This studentship is available for students who possess a first-class or 2.1 (Honours), or equivalent EU/International qualification in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, or another relevant discipline. The candidate should have the following technical experience and personal skills:

  • self-motivated individual with skills and/or interest in metals processing, or process modelling
  • knowledge in solid state mechanics would be an advantage but is not essential
  • a proactive approach, with initiative and ability to work independently
  • ability to synthesise, summarise, and draw conclusions
  • strength to cope with schedules and deadlines
  • excellent organisational and communication skills
  • excellent written and spoken English
Project Details

The goal of the project is to develop a digital twin of state-of-the-art open and closed die hot forging processes used for manufacturing high-performance titanium alloy components. This will be achieved by developing novel experimentally-informed multi-scale materials simulations to build up forging behaviour maps as a function of the manufacturing variables. Property-determining microscopic changes will be evaluated using physics-based phase field models, which will feed local material property data into global finite-element models of component forging.

The structural integrity of titanium alloys is especially sensitive to variations in the microstructure. Components are typically closed die forged from sections of larger billets, and the billets are shaped from cast ingots using a series of open-die forging steps. Open die forging is needed to break up the coarse microstructure of the precursor ingots, which themselves are produced using a sequence of several melting and re-solidification steps to increase their purity and homogeneity.

Any non-uniformities and defects retained from the earlier stages are most often inherited throughout the subsequent steps in the long processing sequence. Furthermore, achieving a high degree of microstructural control becomes progressively more difficult as manufacturers try to forge larger components, due to existing stress and temperature gradients and residual stresses.

As much as 70% of material has to be machined away due to microstructural inconsistencies, requiring billets to be considerably larger than the final parts. Furthermore, to allow for possible microstructural inconsistencies, components may be manufactured to satisfy more conservative safety margins and simpler geometries, which increases their weight. This is a clear detriment to fuel efficiency for the aerospace manufacturers – which are major users of titanium forgings.

To solve these challenges, it is essential that the component-scale deformation models used by the digital twin reflect the microstructural sensitivity of real titanium alloys.

The following tasks will form the main objectives of the project:

  • development of novel phase field models that can accurately replicate the property-controlling microstructural transformations in titanium alloys during hot forging
  • development of a specialised modelling algorithm that will link the concurrent microscopic and component scale models. The algorithms will be responsible for the exchange of property and deformation condition data between the phase field and finite element models respectively, as well as the generation and administration of the necessary RVEs
  • validation of the new models as a framework for the digital twin. This will involve the simulation of suitable open and/or closed die forging of real components over a range of processing conditions. This will be used to map out the microscopic and macroscopic properties of the final product as a function of the various process parameters. Such maps would then be suitable for informing manufacturers regarding the optimal hot-deformation conditions and troubleshooting the forging sequences, as well as effectively optimising the component geometries as new technological capabilities emerge
Funding details

This fully-funded PhD studentship will cover UK Home Fees and Stipend.

We will only accept applications from international students who confirm in their email application that they are able to pay the difference between the Home and International fees (approximately £17,500 per annum). The Stipend is not to be used to cover fees. If you are unable to cover this cost the application will be rejected.

Supervisors:

Dr. Vassili Vorontsov
Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow
Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management

Dr. Salaheddin Rahimi
Principal Knowledge Exchange Fellow
Advanced Forming Research Centre

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