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PhD in Experimental and Numerical Study of Warpage in Composite Structures

University of Warwick - Composite Materials at WMG

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Coventry
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £17,668 stipend, Standard PhD at UKRI rates
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th November 2022
Closes: 6th February 2023

Project Overview

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship in Composite Materials at WMG, the University of Warwick. The scope of the project is to understand the warpage mechanisms in composite structures arising from the manufacturing process and develop numerical simulation models to predict and minimise warpage. Warpage mitigation in composites structures is a major challenge with high-volume manufacturing processes such as compression moulding. In order to maintain a short cycle time, the parts often have to be ejected from the mould at a temperature above the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the thermoset resin and cooled externally to the mould. As most thermoset resin experiences very low stiffness at temperatures above the Tg, the part is vulnerable to the internal stresses caused by the cooling process, therefore will warp. Current, warpage often have to be mitigated by re-machining of the mould geometry to compensate through a trial-and-error approach, which is extremely costly and time consuming. The project aims to study the fundamentals of warpage through a combined experimental and numerical simulation approach. The experimental aspect of the project will include warpage measurements in complicated geometry, material characterisation for the fibre and the matrix, fibre-architecture characterisation using NDT, and investigate how the constituent properties and the meso-scale architecture affect warpage. The numerical simulation aspect will focus on developing finite element bases model for warpage prediction, used the constituent properties and fibre architecture data obtained from the experimental study. The model will be validated against experimental warpage measurement data and used to investigate possible solutions for minimising warpage. The candidate will have access to the world-leading, state-of-the-art research facilities at WMG to ensure every success in this project. This project will also be supported by Expert Technologies UK - a world leading solution provider for bespoke tooling. Successful candidate will have the opportunities to work directly with leading academics and industrial partners from the composites supply chain, offering excellent career opportunities following graduation.

We require an enthusiastic graduate with a 2:1 class degree in a relevant discipline, such as engineering, material science or physics.

The successful candidate will:

  • Have strong interests in both experimental work and computational work
  • Have good programming skills (Python preferred)
  • Have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders
  • Have some hands-on experience in finite element analysis
  • Experiences related to composites manufacturing and modelling would be a distinct advantage

Key Information:

Funding Source: DTP

Funding Duration: 3.5 years

Supporting company: Expert Technologies UK

Supervisor: Dr Connie Qian, Prof. Kenneth Kendall

Available to Home fee status and UK domicile EU students

Desired Student: 2:1 class degree in a relevant discipline, such as engineering, material science or physics.

Start date: February 2023

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