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University of Nottingham - PhD Studentship - Technologies Framework for Automated Dry Fibre Placement (ADFP)

Nottingham, UK

University of Nottingham

EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Hub: Technologies Framework for Automated Dry Fibre Placement (ADFP)

The University of Nottingham

Job Reference:


Qualification type:




Funding for:

UK Students, EU Students

Funding amount:

£14,296 p.a. + tuition fees


Full Time

Placed on:

19th 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: Dr Thomas Turner

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 is part of a Hub core programme in collaboration with University of Bristol to develop improved understanding of dry fibre automated fibre placement technologies. ADFP is a relatively new technology and many challenges remain, primarily around the fundamental understanding of processing parameters, such as temperature, feed rate and compaction pressure.

Through tack characterisation of tow materials matched with rheological data for the binder, a fundamental understanding of the functional mechanisms behind surface interactions during dry tow placement will be developed, leading to predictive models for the interdependency of processing temperature and rate to obtain optimal adhesion levels of the binder. The capability to successfully infuse large structures will also be improved by tailoring the preform design by engineering tow gaps to form a network of dual flow capillaries without compromising structural performance. Optimal lay-up strategies for faster and defect-free infusion will be investigated through geometric modelling (TexGen) coupled with commercial flow modelling software and optimisation frameworks. There is also the opportunity to evaluate radical alternative hardware architectures in order to achieve a step change in deposition rate. 

Successful applicants will be based at Nottingham, who 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 consumables 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: 03 Mar 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