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PhD vacancy (4 years) on topology optimization of large 3D printed structures with functionally graded materials

Arc welding based additive manufacturing or WAAM techniques are attracting interest from the manufacturing industry because of their potential to fabricate large metal components with low cost and short production lead time. This process exists alongside other high deposition rate metal AM technologies such as powder and wire based DED. While these use either laser or an electron beam as energy source to melt a metal powder or wire, WAAM technologies melt metal wire using an electric arc.

The mechanical properties of additively manufactured materials, such as titanium alloy, are comparable to cast or wrought material. It has also been found that twin-wire WAAM has the capability to fabricate intermetallic alloys and functional graded materials.

It is exactly that last feature of functional grading that can be used to tune the mechanical, thermal and thermomechanical properties of large structures, by depositing differently graded material compositions in different areas. Based on this technological asset, the European H2020 project Grade2XL has been approved ( The project is coordinated by M2i in the Netherlands, and Ghent University is one of the partners. The current 4-year vacancy will focus on the development of new topology optimization algorithms and software, in order to optimize the shape and distribution of the functional properties across the whole part geometry. Case studies will be provided by the industrial partners, for example tuning the thermal expansion coefficients of very large 3D printed moulds and minimize the warping and geometric tolerances of the produced parts in those moulds.

The PhD study at Ghent University is purely numerical, while the experimental work will be done at the other academic and industrial partners.

Only candidates with a Master degree in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Civil Engineering, (Applied) Physics or similar should apply. You are interested to perform numerical research and to interact and collaborate with industry.

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