PhD Studentship – Physics of Failure Analysis on Anti-Icing Systems

Supervisor: Dr. Suresh Perinpanayagam
Duration of award: 3 year
Award type: PhD
Application deadline: 20th December 2013
Start Date: ASAP

*Supported by the IVHM Centre at Cranfield University, this studentship will cover the tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and provide a bursary of up to £14,000 p.a. (tax free) for three years.

Cranfield University have an exciting research opportunity in the Integrated Vehicle Health Management Centre (IVHM Centre).The successful applicant will work in the fields of physics of failure and condition monitoring.

IVHM uses on-board sensors to obtain data on the condition of aircraft components which are then analysed to detect faults and even predict when failures will occur. This information is then used to improve the management of maintenance operations. Physics of failure comprise a series of techniques to obtain a better understanding of the failure mechanisms of system, their precursors, and, ultimately, to develop models and algorithms to inform maintenance decisions.

Anti-icing systems are used to prevent ice from accumulating on the flight surfaces of an aircraft which increases drag, reduces lift, and makes the airplane more difficult to control. Modern aircraft use electric conductors embedded interwoven within the composite structure of flight surfaces to produce heat as a current slows through them. One of the main failures of anti-icing systems occurs when the electrical insulation between the heating element and the external metallic layer fails. This insulation is provided by intermediate layers of composite material which can suffer delamination and cracks due to fatigue or impact. This results in a progressive degradation of the dielectric strength of the composite layers until the system fails.

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The development of diagnostic, prognostics, and health management capability for the anti-icing system can help to prevent this type of failures and lead to a reduction in turnaround time. The research project will focus on researching the precursors of failure as well as their progression over time to develop diagnostic and prognostic tools for anti-icing systems. The project will involve both theoretical and experimental work that should lead to developing a viable health monitoring solution to be implemented in an industrial setting.

Entry Requirements

first-class or upper second-class degree in Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics or Materials Engineering. Good interpersonal and communication skills and computer literacy. International students to provide a certificate to proof their level of English as required by Cranfield University.

*applicants must have:

  • no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK and
  • have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant and
  • not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals).

All EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have ‘settled status’ in the UK.

All non-EU nationals are very unlikely to be eligible for this funding under the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 1997.

How to apply
If you have any questions regarding the details of the project contact Manuel Esperon (

If you are eligible please complete the online application via the ‘Apply’ button below.
For further information contact us today:
School of Applied Sciences
T: +44 (0)1234 754086

Keywords: engineering, condition monitoring, physics of failure

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