Advanced manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing (AM) and surface engineering is used across industry for making end use parts. Laser technology such as laser beam directed energy deposition is a technology that can be applicable to coatings, repair and AM. However, uncertainty still exists around part to part consistency and repeatability, which is limiting greater adoption. A fundamental solution to help address this problem is the need for simple, yet agile, monitoring and control systems augmented by artificial intelligence.
This PhD will enable the successful candidate to develop/focus on:
- Directed energy deposition (DED) with laser beam, an AM technique that is expected to see accelerated growth in industry in next 1-2 years.
- Fundamental understanding and hands on experience of using state of the art DED equipment, including the novel extreme high-speed laser application process (EHLA).
- Work within a team of highly talented and experienced engineers to help document DED parameters and characteristics that govern part quality.
- Identify and install monitoring systems and develop control techniques and methodologies to improve part to part consistency.
- Explore the use of digital analysis systems and AI approaches for closed loop control.
- Work with industry to validate the methods on real part manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing; lasers; EHLA; coatings; repair; monitoring; control; AI;
TWI’s Sheffield facility is staffed with experts focused on research and industrialisation in additive manufacturing and houses UK leading DED and EHLA equipment for applications in additive manufacture, coatings and component repair. For the duration of your PhD you will be based at TWI in Sheffield.
NSIRC is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with lead academic partner Brunel University, the universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Loughborough, Birmingham, Leicester and a number of leading industrial partners. NSIRC aims to deliver cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners.
Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in an appropriate engineering or science based discipline. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 6.5) if applicable. A degree in mechanical Engineering or materials science and related fields. An interest in computer science and artificial intelligence would also be desirable but not necessary. The successful candidate also needs to demonstrate enthusiasm to integrate and become part of the team at TWI and have the confidence to be taught to safely operate additive manufacturing equipment. Hence, a clear aptitude to develop and undertake research through practical trials and fundamental exploration is anticipated.
This project is funded by Brunel University, London and TWI. The funding covers the cost of tuition fees and a standard tax-free stipend for three years.