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PhD Studentship: Artificial Intelligence Driven Multi-physics Phase Field Fracture Simulations for Composites

University of Warwick - Centre for Doctoral Training in the Modelling of Heterogeneous Materials (HetSys), Department of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Coventry
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Standard UKRI rate
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th February 2024
Closes: 29th February 2024
Reference: HP2024-02

Supervisors:

Supervisors: Dr. Emmanouil Kakouris (Engineering), Dr. Lukasz Figiel (Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG))

Summary:

Composites are widely adopted by automotive, aeronautical, and structural engineering due to their enhanced properties, yet their complex heterogeneous structure presents several challenges. Fracture is recognised as the main one, as it impacts composite safety, and when coupled with other physics, can lead to complex thermo-mechanical damage/failure scenarios. Commercially viable composite structures demand numerical methods adept at handling such complexities. This research aims to utilise the latest computational material modelling techniques to predict complex cracking patterns in composites, followed by creating an AI-driven multi-physics model for fast structural assessments. Outcomes will include enhanced understanding of damage processes, a new approach for investigating damage processes via phase-field fracture simulations, and a method to accelerate simulations using scientific machine learning.

Composites are increasingly being adopted by the automotive, aeronautical and structural engineering communities for their improved physical and mechanical properties. Such materials often possess highly heterogeneous material descriptions and tessellated/complex geometries. However, fracture poses a significant challenge for numerous composites. In practical applications, fracture is coupled with other involved physics, significantly impacting the progression of damage within composites. For instance, consider a scenario where a solid material experiences a sudden temperature change. The resulting thermal stress, caused by non-uniform thermal expansion, can lead to breakage if it exceeds the material's fracture strength. This event is commonly referred to as thermal fracture or thermal shock. Examples of such cracking include micro cracking of two-phase composite materials when a mismatch of the coefficient of thermal expansion exists between the matrix and the fibres.

Deploying commercially viable composite structures requires numerical methods that can adeptly and efficiently handle these complexities within the prescribed design iterations. Classical numerical methods, though versatile, become costly in computations when dealing with heterogeneous inclusions, large deformations and frictional contact.

This research aims to utilise the latest advances of computational material modelling to develop a robust thermo-mechanical damage modelling approach for predicting complex cracks in composites. Then, an AI driven multi-physics model will be created, paving the way for developing the next generation of “online”, fast and robust structural assessment tools for industrial complex composite structures under varying operating conditions.

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/hetsys/themes/projectopportunities/

Additional Funding Information 

Awards for both UK residents and international applicants pay a stipend to cover maintenance as well as paying the university fees and a research training support. The stipend is at the standard UKRI rate.

For more details visit: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/hetsys/apply/funding/

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