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PhD scholarship: Predicting delamination damage in the machining of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composites

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Start Date: 1st September 2016

Duration: 4 years

Stipend: Tax free stipend of £18,000 per year, plus all tuition fees paid at UK/EU rates. 

Supervisors: Dr Jose Curiel-Sosa (Dept of Mechanical Engineering), Dr Kevin Kerrigan and Dr Vaibhav Phadnis (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre).

Applications deadline: 7th December 2015.

Project Description

Delamination damage is one of the side effects of machining Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composites particularly when using the wrong cutting parameters or a worn drill. Delamination can result in severe damage and failure, so being able to accurately predict and counteract damage under different cutting conditions is a significant advantage for composite manufacturers.

Finite element modelling of drilling of CFRP composites is a recognised methodology for damage prediction. However, the computational cost of the currently used sophisticated models is high. In this project, simplified models based on a relatively novel EXtended Finite Element Method (XFEM) strategy will be developed and compared in terms of delamination prediction with the more complex models.

For example, the project will investigate whether the simplified model, presenting reduced computational cost, slightly overestimates the delamination factor when compared with the complex model. The influence on delamination of thrust force, clamping area at the bottom surface of the laminate and the stacking sequence will also be investigated using both models.

This is a 4 year PhD studentship funded by the Department of Mechanical Engineering and EPSRC. The successful candidate will join a cohort of PhD and EngD students in the IDC in Machining Science following a semi-structured programme combining technical and professional training with research. Approximately 75% of the time will be spent on the main University of Sheffield campus, the rest at the AMRC and/or other collaborators.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have, or expect to get, a 1st or high 2:1 degree (or Masters with Merit) in a relevant science or engineering subject such as Aerospace, Mechanical, Civil or Materials Engineering or similar. You should be enthusiastic about research with an interest in technology development and innovation in manufacturing.

You should be interested on simulation and computer-aided engineering analysis. To have experience of finite element analysis software (e.g. Abaqus, Ansys, etc) is desirable but not strictly required.

Due to EPSRC residency requirements, this project is open only to UK and EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of the course (see How to Apply section).

Candidates must also be able show that their English language proficiency is at a level which allows them to successfully complete the PhD. All applicants require an English language qualification, typically a GCSE or an IELTS test (a score of 7 or above is required, with a minimum of 6 in each component).

If in doubt about any aspect of eligibility, please contact the Centre Team.


For an informal discussion about this studentship please contact Dr Jose Curiel-Sosa, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Tel: 0114 222 7857

For general enquiries about the IDC, our 4-year structured PhD, eligibility etc please contact the Centre Team 

How to apply for this PhD Studentship

All applications should be submitted online. Please follow the instructions in the How to Apply section and include a CV and a supporting statement. Please ensure that you specify which project you are applying for and include in your statement why you are interested in the project theme, and why you are a good candidate for the project.

Back to Current PhD and EngD Opportunities

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