PhD studentships High Performance Ductile Composite Technologies (HiPerDuCT)

Faculty/School/Department(s): Faculty of Engineering

The project:
The HiPerDuCT programme aims to create a new generation of high performance composites that overcome the key limitation of conventional composites: their inherent lack of ductility. The ability to yield and recover, be notch insensitive, exhibit much greater work of fracture, and fail in a benign manner will offer a step change in damage tolerance, vastly increasing the scope of application and enabling new processing techniques.

PhD studentships are now available which offer applicants an exciting opportunity to contribute towards the key research objectives of HiPerDuCT:

  1. To design, realise and evaluate composite architectures that display a ductile or pseudo-ductile response to mechanical load, while maintaining intrinsically high strength and stiffness.
  2. To identify target properties for constituents in order to achieve optimal composite response by means of modelling.
  3. To design, realise and evaluate ductile fibres with high strength and stiffness.
  4. To create novel constituents with properties to achieve the desired responses identified from modelling.
  5. To combine the constituents and architectures to create optimised high performance ductile composites.

Examples of Potential HiPerDuCT projects:

1)  High performance multi-directional ductile laminates made of thin-ply hybrid constituents

The key challenge of this PhD project is to investigate and exploit the pseudo–ductility, previously demonstrated in UD thin-ply hybrid plates, on a higher structural level of multidirectional, e.g. quasi-isotropic (QI), laminates under a range of loading conditions suitable for engineering applications. For full project details see:

2)  Bio-inspired high performance ductile composites with highly-aligned discontinuous fibres

The intention of this project is to investigate bio-inspired composite materials with aligned short fibres to bring ductility to the composites by developing short fibre end or surface modification methods; manufacturing aligned short fibre composites with modified fibres by the newly developed HiPerDiF method and testing them in tension and bending; and analysing the fibre modification effects on the stress-strain curve of the developed composites. For full project details see:

Candidate requirements:

Applicants should hold at least an upper second-class degree (or equivalent qualification) in engineering, mathematics, physics or materials with a strong interest in composites.


Successful applicants will be offered covering living expenses and tuition fees at the EU rate for three years. Full eligibility details can be found here:

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project via the ‘Apply’ button below. Please select Aerospace on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.


Contact Professor Michael Wisnom (
Or for further information see:

Deadline for applications: 31st January 2014

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