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Rheology of PolyArylEtherKetones (PAEKs) in Additive Manufacturing. PhD in Engineering.

University of Exeter - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: EU Students, International Students, Self-funded Students, UK Students
Funding amount: Up to £15,609
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th January 2022
Closes: 28th February 2022
Reference: 4412

The Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) at the University of Exeter in partnership with Victrex is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in February 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students, the studentship will cover UK tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £ £15,691 for 3.5 years full-time study. The student will be based in the Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter but will involve visits, meetings and time spent at Victrex, as required by the project. 

Victrex is an innovative world-leading UK-based manufacturer of high-performance polyaryletherketone (PAEK) based polymeric materials, forms and components. Our central business activity is the creation of sustainable innovation in advanced integrated materials systems and the adoption of these solutions across a range of markets. Key to the accelerated adoption of these technologies is driving an understanding of the science behind these materials systems and transferring that understanding, and the skills developed therefrom, into industrial supply chains. Victrex is heavily involved in the delivery of PAEK products (from medical devices to pipes and gears manufacturing), with 2021 revenues of £308m, 800 employees and 11 subsidiaries serving more than 40 countries. 

Project description: 

The studentship is part of the large industrial partnership between CALM and Victrex focused on delivery of the next generation of Poly Aryl Ether Ketone (PAEK) grades for Additive Manufacturing. Therefore, it will take advantage of the project developments so far in terms of knowledge in crystallisation kinetics and models for AM. It will also have access to the state-of-the-art equipment for testing, manufacturing and analysis.

Polymer melt rheology plays an important role during any manufacturing process and the final properties of a part. Previous research highlighted some of the polymer rheology characteristics required for additive manufacturing processes, however the literature is limited in scope and polymers. This project is looking to understand the viscoelastic behaviour of existing and new developmental PAEK grades in relation with two additive manufacturing processes: powder bed and filament extrusion. The study will try to simulate the melt behaviour experienced by each AM process, correlate results with the crystallisation kinetics data developed so far and examine the influence melt rheology has on the layer to layer adhesion mechanisms with the final aim of providing a comprehensive understanding of the polymer behaviour as a function of the process conditions. 

Entry Requirements 

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.   

Award

This award provides annual funding to cover UK tuition fees and a tax-free stipend of £15,609 per year.  Non-UK students who pay international tuition fees should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend.  They are eligible to apply if able to provide the rest of the international tuition fee and the stipend.  The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in February 2022. 

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