PhD Studentship: Ultrasonic inspection of a new generation of composite materials
University of Bristol - Mechanical Engineering
Composite materials are making structures stronger and lighter, but they are expensive. A new generation of cheaper composite materials are emerging which offer a much more cost effective solution and are likely to see widespread use in the future: in applications as diverse as aircraft wings and wind turbine blades. However, it is currently not known how best to non-destructively test these new materials and that is the key question that this PhD project will address. If these materials are to be used in safety critical applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, then this ability to prove that the material is of high quality is incredibly important. Indeed, aircraft cannot fly until such proof exists. The PhD will explore the use of high resolution ultrasonic imaging to characterise the internal structure of these new materials. The complex nature of their internal structure means that novel imaging techniques will be needed which can, for example, overcome the bending of the ultrasonic waves that will occur due to their anisotropic stiffness. However, the propagation of ultrasonic waves in these materials is not well understood and so a core aspect of the project will be to accurately model these effects. The concept is that a good model will lead to improved imaging. The project will therefore involve research on ultrasonic waves, imaging, and new materials. This project, is in partnership with BAE Systems a leading manufacturer of composite aerospace structures. They will give the student full access to these new materials.
The student will be based in the Ultrasonics and Non-Destructive Testing (UNDT) Research Group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering [www.ndtatbristol.com] which is world-leading in the areas of array imaging, guided wave structural health monitoring and ultrasonic particle manipulation. The group currently comprises 5 academic staff, 7 postdoctoral research staff and 18 postdoctoral students. It has a well-equipped laboratory and has a sustained track record of research funding from a variety of sources. The UNDT group was also a founding member of the UK Research Centre in Non-Destructive Evaluation [http://www.rcnde.ac.uk/], which comprises 5 other universities and has a core industrial membership of 15 major companies, including Rolls-Royce, Airbus, BAE Systems, National Nuclear Laboratory and EDF Energy.
How to apply:
Please make an online application for this project at http://www.bris.ac.uk/pg-howtoapply. Please select <Mechanical Engineering> on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form
First class or upper second class degree in any Engineering discipline or Physics.
Basic skills and knowledge required:
Essential: good mathematical/analytical skills; basic knowledge of elasticity; experience of programming.
Starting stipend (tax-free) per annum is the EPSRC stipend of £14,057 in 2015/16 plus an annual industrial “top-up” of £4.5k. The Scholarship covers PhD tuition fees for UK applicants and for EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to application. EU nationals resident in the EU may apply but will only qualify for PhD tuition fees.