George Bethell Scholarship PhD project - Creating new energy-absorbing structures for automotive using additive manufacturing of lightweight steels
University of Nottingham

George Bethell Scholarship PhD project - Creating new energy-absorbing structures for automotive using additive manufacturing of lightweight steels

United Kingdom 03 Mar 2021


جامعة نوتنغهام هي جامعة أبحاث عامة في مدينة نوتنغهام في المملكة المتحدة. تم تأسيسها كجامعة وكلية في عام 1881، ومُنحت الميثاق الملكي في عام 1948. تمتلك الجامعة فروعًا أخرى لها خارج المملكة المتحدة، فل

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State University
Host Country
03 Mar 2021
Study level
Opportunity type
Eligible Countries
This opportunity is destined for all countries
Eligible Region
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Reference ENG1439

Closing Date Wednesday, 3rd March 2021

Department Engineering

George Bethell Scholarship PhD project

Supervisory team: Dr Ian Maskery, Dr Marco Simonelli

Centre for Additive Manufacturing

Project title:  Creating new energy-absorbing structures for automotive using additive manufacturing of lightweight steels

Project description: Additive manufacturing (AM) designers have almost total control over how materials are processed and connected, giving rise to new materials and structures with never before seen properties.  However, true deterministic control of how metallic structures are built still poses a significant challenge; at present AM processes tend to target fully dense parts, while material properties are coincidentally inherited.

It is the aim of this PhD project to change the status quo by exploiting the exclusive fine structuring control offered by Laser Powder Bed Fusion (the most prominent of the metal AM techniques) to design a new range of energy absorbing structures.  As a starting point, this project will pick up on a recent result from the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) concerning a new type of surface-based honeycomb which displays unique structural reorientation and stiffening when compressed (see figure 1).  The project will then investigate the controllable deformation behaviour of these honeycombs when embedded in automotive energy absorbing components (e.g., crash boxes).

Figure 1: Deformation of a newly discovered, surface-based AM honeycomb under compressive loading.

The research will elucidate how laser parameters can be changed to tune the local microstructure of TRIP steels, the materials of choice for these applications, in thick and thin sections of the honeycomb component.  This will aim to achieve maximum strain hardening and energy absorption in those regions of the component that are subject to high stresses during impact, while maintaining high-strength in the rest of the component, thus ensuring an overall axial protection in the direction of the vehicle body.

The PhD student will investigate these new honeycomb structures with a combination of additive manufacturing and metrology, advanced materials testing, state-of-the-art microscopy and numerical modelling (e.g., finite element analysis), thereby gaining a broad set of skills and knowledge relevant to materials research.  

The student appointed will work as part of a dynamic interdisciplinary team focussed on developing laser powder bed fusion as part of the CfAM. The CfAM is a large interdisciplinary group active in the area of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. Comprising of around 100 academics, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students, it is one of the largest research centres for additive manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide. CfAM engages with a broad range of academics from across the UK and a significant number of industrial partners to deliver on an industrially prioritised research agenda and therefore will provide the project with excellent visibility.


Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is available to UK and EU students only. Applicants should have, or expect to obtain a first-class or 2:1 degree in Engineering, Physics, Chemistry or a science related discipline.

How to apply

Please send your covering letter, CV and academic transcripts to referring to the project title. Please note applications without academic transcripts will not be considered.

Applications deadline: 3rd March 2021

Expected start date: April 2021

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