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PhD Project: 3D printing next-generation actuators for soft robots and devices


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Sunday 15 September 2024
Reference:  ENG1725

Applications are invited for a PhD project within the Faculty of Engineering, in the Centre for Additive Manufacturing research group (CfAM, at the University of Nottingham. The student will work in world-class laboratory facilities in the CfAM engaging with interdisciplinary team with expertise in 3D printing, soft robotics, and materials science.

Project description: 3D-printing of soft robotics is a growing field, with many applications in biomedical devices, electronics, and autonomous machines. Actuators to drive these robots utilise electronic, chemical, pressure, magnetic, or thermal mechanisms, with the current generation having significant drawbacks, including low energy efficiency, high operating voltage or temperature. This project will develop the materials, methods, and designs necessary to 3D-print the next generation of soft-actuators. The overall aim is to develop and exploit new designs or new materials to attain large, fast, high-efficiency actuation responses comparable to living muscles.

An ideal candidate will have interest in 3D printing and its applications, knowledge of materials sciences, mechanical engineering, or digital design, and an inquisitive spirit motivated to develop a world-leading expertise. They will have a background in engineering, materials science, or chemistry, but will also be willing to learn new disciplines and innovate to achieve the project goals. This studentship will prepare you for routes into both industry and academia, and will equip you with skills in photopolymer chemistry, materials development for 3D printing, device engineering, and materials processing for additive manufacturing. You will also develop skills in characterisation, including microscopy, mechanical analysis, and advanced spectrometry techniques.


  • Project start date and duration: start 1st October 2024 for 42 months.
  • Due to funding application restrictions, the position is only available for UK candidates.
  • Candidates must possess or expect to obtain, a 2:1 or first-class degree in a Engineering, Chemistry, or related physical sciences related discipline.
  • To apply, covering letter, CV and academic transcripts should be send by email to Dr Geoffrey Rivers, Please note applications without academic transcripts will not be considered. Please refer to the project title when sending your e-mail/application. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis until a suitable candidate is appointed.
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