PhD Studentship in Dynamics and Control Novel energy-efficient actuation technologies for vibration control



Funding available: £13,726 per annum + fees

Application deadline:  9am, 7th October 2013

This PhD is concerned with developing new active vibration control technologies, exploiting the latest smart materials to produce cutting edge response suppression capabilities to be used in the control of vehicle dynamics (helicopters, cars, trains) and larger structures (wind turbines, buildings in areas of seismic activity).

Advanced vibration control technologies are becoming increasingly important across a range of sectors as the boundaries of performance and structural optimisation are tested. In the aerospace sector there is a huge interest in areas such as helicopter vibration control and rocket payload isolation; the automotive industry is interested in active suspension systems for increased comfort and improved handling; renewable energy systems such as wind and tidal turbines are increasingly reliant on vibration control as their size continues to increase; and civil engineers are interested in active and semiactive systems to augment existing passive vibration absorbers for wind and seismic load alleviation.

To date, active vibration control systems have relied on plentiful power supplies to cater for actuator energy demands. This limits the application of the technology, hindering its implementation where energy is scarce or unreliable, or where it is impractical to route a power supply. This limitation also impedes the progression of the technology in applications where efficiency is important for environmental or economic reasons.

The PhD will focus on exploiting novel actuation technologies to produce energy-efficient means of vibration control. Semiactive methods will be considered in parallel with more advanced, energy-harvesting approaches, and the work will examine the role of smart materials such as piezo-electric and magnetorheological fluids in extending the capabilities of such devices. The department’s links with the automotive, aerospace, and renewable energy industries and its close ties to the Civil Engineering department will be used to guide the development of the most promising technologies, and the culmination of the project will be a practical demonstration of a prototype system working in a relevant environment.

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Eligibility

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship (3 years) within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. The studentship includes fees and a tax-free stipend of £13,726 per annum. Due to funding restrictions the studentship is only open to UK and EU students.

The student will be expected to make significant contributions to the development of vibration control technology and its application to aerospace, automotive and civil structures. They will be expected to publish their results and to present their work at national and international conferences. The successful applicant will:

  • Be in possession of (or expecting to obtain) a first-class degree or a good 2:1 in Mechanical, Aerospace, or Electrical Engineering, and/or an equivalent Master’s-level qualification.
  • Have a strong background in one or more of the following: electro-mechanical actuation, structural dynamics, fluid dynamics, magnetism, control theory.
  • Be adept at the modelling, construction and testing of physical systems.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each component, or equivalent).

Potential applicants are encouraged to address informal enquiries to Dr. Jon du Bois, email: [email protected]. Further information and application instructions can be found at http://people.bath.ac.uk/jldb20/phd.htm.

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