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University of Nottingham - PhD Studentship - New Manufacturing Techniques for Optimised Fibre Architectures

Nottingham, UK

University of Nottingham

EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Hub: New manufacturing techniques for optimised fibre architectures

The University of Nottingham

Qualification type:




Funding for:

UK Students, EU Students

Funding amount:

£14,296 p.a. + tuition fees


Full Time

Placed on:

21st February 2017


Will remain open until filled


Start Date: Available now, but start can be delayed until 1st October 2017

Eligibility: UK, EU, International

Duration of award: 3 years

Supervisor: Prof Andrew Long

Applications are invited for fully funded PhD studentships in the Composites Research Group at the University of Nottingham. There are currently 2 available positions, which are being funded by the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Hub. The aim of the Hub is to engage academics from across the UK with a broad range of industrial partners to deliver a step change in the production of polymer matrix composites. The Hub is led by the University of Nottingham and the University of Bristol and initially includes 4 other UK universities, 4 High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres, backed by 18 leading companies from the composites sector. http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/P006701/1 

Project Description

This project aims to discover new 3D textile preform architectures for high performance composite structures. Computational modelling will evaluate the utility of different textile designs within an optimisation framework, based on processing and mechanical properties, to determine the best solution for a particular application. This framework will not be constrained to architectures that can be produced using existing manufacturing technologies, such as weaving or braiding. Optimum textile preforms will be realised either by modifying existing textile processes or, where potential benefits justify, by developing entirely bespoke manufacturing technologies.

Nottingham’s open-source textile modelling software, TexGen, will be developed to produce unit cell models of non-conventional textile forms, relaxing constraints to enable groups of fibres to follow an arbitrary path in 3D space. A multi-objective optimisation framework will be developed to achieve optimum processing and mechanical properties, which will be applied to a number of case studies to identify optimum material forms. Predictions will be validated with the support of the University of Manchester, who will produce coupons for mechanical testing using a combination of 3D weaving and robotic fibre placement. 

Successful applicants will be based at Nottingham and will:

  • Work directly with leading academics and industrial partners from the composites supply chain, including leading UK aerospace and automotive companies
  • Have the opportunity to undertake a 3 month secondment with an industrial partner or one of the supporting High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres
  • Have the opportunity to spend up to 3 months visiting one of 20 international research institutions, via the International Researcher Network
  • Have access to taught elements of the Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in Composites Manufacture at the University of Bristol
  • Receive a travel and consumable allowance to support the research project

Entry Requirements:

Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a first-class or upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline, such as engineering or physics. Students with a materials background are particularly encouraged to apply. Candidates should be self-motivated and capable of studying under pressure to meet deliverables. They should also have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders. Previous experience in numerical modelling (FEA, Matlab, Maple etc.) and strong programming skills would be advantageous.


Successful applicants will receive a tax free bursary of up to £14,296 p.a. and tuition fees for three years, subject to satisfactory research progress. This level of funding is for UK and EU applicants, although international students are eligible to apply with their own funding. Tuition fees (£19,120 p.a.) for international students will be paid, but no stipend is offered. Candidates should be available to start on 1st April 2017, 1st July 2017 or 1st October 2017.


Listed: 21 Feb 2017

Contact: Dr Lee Harper

Email: lee.harper@nottingham.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 115 9513823

Website: www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/how-to-apply