PhD Studentship: Developing multi-material structures using additive manufacturing – Nottingham, United Kingdom

United Kingdom
Posted 1 year ago
Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Tuesday 22 August 2023
Reference:  ENG1668

Dr Marco Simonelli, Dr Ian Maskery, Professor Chris Tuck

Centre for Additive Manufacturing

The vision for next-generation Additive Manufacturing (AM) is to control the chemical composition of every single deposited volume to create functional materials (FMs) directly from digital designs. While polymeric FMs can be realised easily via various commercial techniques, there remains a significant challenge for the realisation of FMs made of metallic materials. Metallic FMs have attracted interest in a variety of industrial fields, especially in energy (batteries, electric motors, etc.), transport (heat exchangers, actuators, crash boxes, etc.), and defence. These FMs could replace assemblies that are currently made by joining multiple components, and could also significantly enhance part performance by engineering the mechanical and physical properties at small scale.  This will also lead to the creation of new architected materials (also known as metamaterials), which have properties beyond those accessible with the current range of metal alloys.

The objective of this PhD project is to address the knowledge gap around metallic FMs and establish new methods for multi-metal AM. This requires the identification of suitable material combinations for laser-based AM and the determination of appropriate design guidelines for the interfaces formed between dissimilar materials. For the success of metallic FM, there is a critical need to understand how different metals can be combined in AM to achieve desired properties. To achieve this, the project will focus on determining the structural and thermal behaviour of the interface regions of the printed component, where dissimilar materials are in contact. This will be done by studying the printing laser parameters’ effect on these regions. Similarly, it is essential to understand how different material distributions at the interface (sharp distribution, diffused, interlocked, etc.) affect the robustness of the joint. The correct design of these complex parts will require characterizing and testing the interfaces formed in the printed structures.

The project builds on the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM)’s expertise in applying computational materials science techniques to laser AM to identify and select suitable material combinations. State-of-the-art AM software will be used to design parts with the identified materials to satisfy the desired properties of the final product. In addition, the PhD candidate will be able to conduct research using a state-of-the-art multi-beam laser powder bed fusion platform equipped with a multi-metal deposition system, for selective material deposition in a single layer (a one of the kind facility in the UK).

The PhD student will develop these structures using a combination of AM and metrology techniques, advanced materials testing, microscopy, and numerical modelling, gaining a broad set of skills and knowledge relevant to advanced manufacturing and materials research. The student will work as part of a dynamic interdisciplinary team at CfAM, one of the world’s largest research centres for additive manufacturing and 3D printing, to advance the state-of-the-art in this field. This research has the potential to pave the way for new and exciting applications of AM in various industries, improving product performance and reliability.

Due to funding restrictions this position is only available to home students.

Please apply here

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG) within the personal statement section. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship. 

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