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PhD Studentship: Centre for Doctoral Training in Composite Materials, Sustainability and Manufacture


UK Other

Closing Date
Thursday 26 September 2024


Award: PhD

Duration: 4 years

Department: Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering

Funding: A tax-free enhanced stipend of £24,917 per annum and tuition fees for four years, subject to satisfactory research progress. 

Eligibility: Funding is available for Home students (permanent UK residency) 

Start: Flexible from September 2024 

Applications are invited to undertake a PhD programme within the Centre for Doctoral Training for Sustainable Composites Manufacturing, based at the University of Nottingham. The student will undertake an industrially focused project, conducting cutting-edge research to address the key challenges in achieving sustainable manufacture of fibre-reinforced polymer composites. Students will follow a taught programme of exciting composite-specific modules at the University of Bristol, as part of a large national cohort.

Candidate profile:

We are looking for highly-motivated students who are interested in conducting stimulating research and have a passion for finding sustainable solutions. The successful candidate will hold a minimum 2:1 masters degree in a relevant engineering or physical science discipline. Applicants without a masters qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, providing they hold a first-class undergraduate degree. 

The candidate will be expected to work independently, including extensive laboratory work and some numerical modelling. Previous knowledge of composites and composites manufacturing will be beneficial, along with experience in finite element analysis. The ability to communicate confidently and clearly with external stakeholders is essential. 

The successful candidate will join the University of Nottingham’s Composites Research Group to:

  • Work with leading academics and industrial partners.
  • Receive extensive doctoral training.
  • Receive a travel and consumables allowance to support the research.
  • Have access to world-leading facilities. 

Project title: Characterisation of manufacturing defects and mitigation strategies

There is an urgent need to move away from hand layup of autoclave cured prepregs towards more sustainable automated manufacturing processes for fibre reinforced composites, to reduce cost, cycle time and embodied energy and avoid component variability. Manufacturing defects, such as ply wrinkles and voids are the main barrier for the adoption of these processes, significantly impacting the mechanical performance of composite structures. Inherent process variability during manufacturing can lead to over-conservative designs and increase the number of parts that are rejected. 

  • This project will focus on characterising and ultimately predicting the effect that these defects have on structural performance. 
  • The occurrence of defects is a complex problem involving many factors. A combination of statistical tools and advanced machine learning techniques will be used to help develop mitigation strategies to avoid over-conservative design.
  • This project will involve an extensive experimental programme supported by appropriate analytical or numerical modelling.

How to apply:

Please submit an expression of interest to outlining your reasoning for choosing this specific project. This should be accompanied by your academic transcripts and a narrative CV outlining your experience and suitability for the role. Please refer to the project title in your application. Acceptance will depend on evidence of readiness to pursue a research degree and performance at interview.

Closing date: Open until a suitable candidate is appointed.



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