PhD Studentship Weight efficient design of high load input and cut-out features of carbon fibre stiffened composite panels using Variable Angle Tow (VAT) technologies

The project

This project will have significant industrial interaction and attracts an Industrial CASE support from Airbus and the EPSRC. The project is interdisciplinary in nature requiring both strong mathematical and structural skills.

The aim of the proposed project is to develop and investigate an optimisation strategy for stiffness tailoring of wing designs of aircraft where there may cut-outs, such as access holes, or local thickening due to stiffener run-outs or highly loaded areas. This will be done by using the unique and exciting properties of variable angle tow composite laminates with the particular aim of reducing structural weight. Note, it may be possible to define tow trajectories that give rise to no stress concentration, ie Neutral holes. Major novelties include:

  • Consideration of variable angle tow steered fibre angles within each layer;
  • New mathematical models to describe the effects of variable angle tows around geometric features;
  • Optimisation of tow steered panels using efficient optimisation methods with possible consideration of genetic algorithms, particle swarm optimisation and ant colony optimisation.

More information can be found here:

Candidate requirements

We are seeking applicants holding or expecting to obtain a minimum upper second class honours degree in aerospace, civil, materials or mechanical engineering or in physics or mathematics. An aptitude for both analytical and numerical modelling is also required.


The studentship is offered with funding of approximately £16,500 per annum for three years. Due to funding requirements, this is only open to UK citizens. EU citizens are eligible for fees only funding.

How to apply

To apply please go to

In the Programme List select ‘Aerospace Engineering (PhD)’, quoting this particular project.


Technical queries can be addressed to Prof. P. Weaver (

Administrative queries can be addressed to Postgraduate Admissions Secretary (

Deadline for applications

The closing date for applications is 31st August.

Also Read  PhD Research Postgraduate Scholarships

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