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Funded PhD in Computational Mechanics of Porous Metallic Materials

Szyniszewski Stefan's picture

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship fully funded by the EU research project. The position is for a three-year research program leading to the PhD degree.

This project focuses on fracture and failure mechanism of metallic foams. The project will focus on extreme loads such as impact and blast. Metallic foam is lighter and does better in a crash than regular old metal or fiberglass. Check out the recent wired article on foam

Metallic foams also exhibit the potential to incorporate multi-physical features into a single component because voids provide lower thermal conductivity, enable extreme compressibility and allow for incorporation of other materials such as ceramics or polymers. Thus, multi-material components could allow for more economical, high-value components. Examples of applications include: shipbuilding components with high buoyancy, modular bridge decks, protective structures in secure facilities, but also advanced components such a front high-speed train cab made.

The goal of this project is to develop a failure model of a metallic foam material and to implement it in a commercial FEA code (LS-DYNA). Next, computer simulations will be employed for virtual prototyping of multi-physical applications with the focus on composite columns and sandwich panels. Experiments will be also conducted to validate and calibrate the developed computational and analytical approaches.

This project is carried out in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, Transportation Research Laboratory and the Highway Agency in the UK, universities in Chile and Finland, as well as academic partners at the University of Massachusetts and the Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Therefore, short visits in Germany and the United States may be included to facilitate academic and industrial training.

Person Specification: You will have a background in Structural or Mechanical or a related field (e.g. Solid Mechanics) and an inquiring and rigorous approach to research together with a strong intellect and disciplined work habits. The enjoyment of discovery and risk-taking will also be helpful.
The candidate must have:
•    University degree, preferably (but not limited to) structural engineering, solid mechanics, mechanical engineering, physics, or computer science,
•    Interest to employ simulation tools such as LS-DYNA or ANSYS to develop and advance user defined material materials,
•    Familiarity with at least one programming language such as Python, Fortran, Perl, Java, C, Matlab or similar,
•    Sound background in solid and structural mechanics,
•    Excellent English, communication and team-working skills.

•    Familiarity with or willingness to employ high-performance computing (HPC) using Linux and computer scripts for automation of repetitive tasks,
•    Willingness and/or prior experience with structural testing (data acquisition e.g. using LabView and calibration of testing equipment),
•    Comfortable attitude to matrix algebra and math operations that are needed to describe material behavior under multi-axial loads.

This project offers an excellent opportunity to join a vibrant research group and to develop/learn computational mechanics with a focus on material model development for extreme load applications.

The University of Surrey is the top 10 university in the UK according to the Guardian league table, and it is located in the sought after location in Guildford, with a fast-train connection (40min) to the city of London.

The award: The scholarship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,000 per year and UK/EU tuition fees. This studentship is funded by the European Commission. This scholarship can be awarded to an overseas-fee paying student if the fee difference between the EU and overseas fee is funded by other sources. The studentship is for three years starting in October 2015.

How to apply: 
Please send your application to Dr Stefan Szyniszewski:
The application shall include:  1) covering letter (max 1 page) that explains how you satisfy project requirements;  2) detailed CV;  3) selected published work such as your journal and conference articles, copy of your MSc or BEng dissertations;  4) a copy of your current academic transcript; 5) names and contact information of at least two referees. You may also want to include copies of your awards and language certificates in order to enhance your application.

Please quote EU/MetFoam in your email subject and application.

Questions:  This studentship will be supervised by Dr Stefan Szyniszewski. Informal enquiries prior to making an application may be addressed to: . Further information can be found at

Closing date: 30 July 2015 (with interviews starting in May). However, applications will be accepted until the position is closed.

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