PhD Studentship – NTD based performance prediction for composite components

The project A fully funded 3-year PhD position is available working with both the Ultrasonics and NDT Group and the Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS). The aim is to develop and apply new finite element (FE) analysis techniques for using three-dimensional (3D) non-destructive characterisation maps of wrinkled or porous composites to predict mechanical performance. The ultimate goal of the wider research programme is to facilitate reduced-weight composite designs by improving confidence in conformance of the component to the design.

It is already possible to map 3D fibre orientation non-destructively; this information can be used to generate a FE mesh of a component containing fibre waviness and/or ply wrinkling. The PhD research will begin by developing an interface to populate the FE cells with the fibre-dependent directions of the stiffness axes and then move on to include local ply spacing, fibre volume-fraction, porosity and impact-damage information. Initially, only flat components will be considered, but it will be important to move on to curved and wedge-shaped components with non- parallel plies as the PhD progresses.

Validation of the modelling by comparison with experiment will be essential for each defect type, as well as combinations of defect types, and for flat and more complex structures. This will require manufacture, non-destructive characterisation and then testing of suitable test coupons with the assistance of ACCIS staff. There will be opportunities to work with the National Composites Centre and its industrial partners, as well as with co-workers on the wider programme aimed at facilitating leaner composite designs.

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More information regarding ACCIS can be found here:

Candidate requirements We are seeking applicants holding or expecting to obtain a minimum upper second class honours degree in engineering, mathematics, physics or materials, with evidence of a strong interest in composites, numerical modelling and experimental testing and validation.

Funding The studentship is offered with funding covering living expenses and tuition fees at the Home/EU rate for 3 years. To meet the eligibility requirements applicants will have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years preceding the date of application. This includes EU students who have been studying for an undergraduate degree.

How to apply To apply please go to

In the Programme List select ‘Mechanical Engineering (PhD)’, quoting this particular project title and co-supervisors: Prof. Robert Smith and Prof. Stephem Hallett.

Contacts Supervisor and main contact:


Deadline for applications The closing date for applications is 31st July.

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