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PhD Studentship: Laser processing of CFRP


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Sunday 31 March 2024
Reference:  ENG1750

This exciting opportunity is based within the Advanced Materials Research Group in the Faculty of Engineering which conducts cutting edge research.


We are seeking PhD student that is motivated and interested in working on an industrially relevant challenge.

Together we will make technological advances that will increase the industrial use of laser cutting of carbon fibre and CFRP.


Laser cutting of carbon fibres and consolidated Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer, CFRP, has been demonstrated but is not currently widely used in industry. Barriers to uptake of this technology are concerns over cut edge quality, thermally induced damage to the polymer matrix and expense.

Advantages of laser cutting include it being a contactless process with no associated tool wear and flexibility of cutting path. Lasers are well suited to cutting dry carbon fibres. However, when cutting consolidated CFRP a large heat affected zone is generated where the carbon fibres remain but the polymer matrix has been removed. This project will identify industrial applications where laser cutting of carbon fibre and CFRP can be successfully exploited. Opportunities related to disassembly and recycling of CFRP will be an area of focus.


You will use our 2 kW multi mode and 1 kW single mode lasers to cut industrially relevant carbon fibres and CFRP. You will develop an instrumented set up to determine the thermal field generated during laser cutting. The work will be largely experimental supported by some heat flow modelling. The impact of laser cutting on the material will be determined using a variety of materials characterisation techniques including optical and scanning electron microscopy, profilometry and mechanical testing. Your results and analysis will enable industry to understand exactly what laser cutting does to their material, leading to appropriate industrial exploitation of this technology. 

You will be expected to produce scientific publications to disseminate the results of the work. There will also be the opportunity to present your work at an international conference.

In addition to acquiring expertise in the specific areas of laser cutting and CFRP you will become skilled in materials characterisation, regularly using optical and scanning electron microscopy. Your verbal and written communication skills will develop as you learn how to disseminate your work to a variety of audiences.

We are looking for

An enthusiastic, self-motivated person.

Applicants will have a 1st or a 2:1 or MSc in a relevant field such as, but not limited to, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering or Physics.  Prior practical experience of materials characterisation techniques would be an advantage, but is not a requirement.

Open to UK/EU/Overseas students. We welcome applications from those who hold scholarship offers to study for a PhD in the 24/25 academic year. If you are seeking funding you can look for funding sources at:

Funding support

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The Faculty of Engineering provides a thriving working environment for all PGRs creating a strong sense of community across research disciplines. Community and research culture is important to our PGRs and the FoE support this by working closely with our Postgraduate Research Society (PGES) and our PGR Research Group Reps to enhance the research environment for PGRs. The Faculty has outstanding facilities and works in partnership with leading industrial partners.

Please apply here:

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG and supervisors name)within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship. 

For further information, please contact Katy Voisey (staff)

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