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PhD Studentship: Frozen In: Predicting Microstructure in Solidifying Droplets

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: The stipend is at the standard UKRI rate
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th February 2024
Closes: 29th February 2024
Reference: HP2024-19

Number of Opportunities Available: 1 fully funded place

Supervisors:

Dr. Radu Cimpeanu (Maths), Prof. James Sprittles (Maths), Dr. Tom Sykes (Engineering)

Summary:

This project is a pioneering study into the microstructural development inside spreading and solidifying droplets (Fig.1e), to solve 21st century challenges such as efficiency-reducing ice accretion on wind turbines (Fig.1f) and poor bonding in the 3D printing of metals (‘MetalJet’ Fig.1b,c). Guided by experts in the latest scientific techniques, you will predict the complex dendritic growth of crystals within a droplet (Fig.1a,d), connect this to engineering-scale mechanical properties and have the opportunity to apply machine learning image processing techniques to guide theory with experimental analyses. Your research will lead to new discoveries and a close interaction with our industrial collaborators.

A New Research Direction

The project tackles a fascinating, evolving set of open problems, which are ripe for analysis. In modelling, this includes capturing dendritic growth on the microscale and developing a new multiscale method for ‘upscaling’/‘coarse-graining’ this information into a macroscopic model. For the computation, you will develop a robust method for capturing complex dendritic interfaces within an evolving domain (i.e. in a droplet). Finally, you will need to connect this with our experiments using machine learning image processing techniques that simultaneously capture the solidification front geometry and temperature in order to initiate a positive feedback loop with the evolving theory.

CFD has been revolutionary in major industries (e.g. aeronautics) and advances here would transform many technologies, e.g. those aimed at preventing ice formation on roads/aeroplanes/wind-turbines, improving the quality of 3D-printed metal parts, and thermal spray coatings. The project offers you training opportunities in rigorous mathematical and data-driven modelling, with an interdisciplinary mindset. The initial foci are the 3D printing of metals, with Nottingham’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) and Lawrence Livermore National Labs, and de-icing aircraft, with AeroTex (a UK SME). Discoveries in this project could enable disruptive technologies that put the UK at the forefront of these multi-billion-pound markets as well as providing scientific guidance to safety/certification within the aerospace domain.

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

Advert Reference: HP2024-19

Apply Link: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/hetsys/apply/

Funding Details

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/

Closing Date: 29 February 2024

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