Additive Manufacture of Embedded Substrateless Electronic Devices (WS03)
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Full Project Detail Electronics are increasingly embedded into the structure of products in order to increase functionality (e.g. sensors, IoT), reduce size and weight, and enable their operation in harsh environments. Often this involves manufacturing a separate electronic circuit on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) substrate that is then built into the device. This is not an efficient approach and does not support products that require complex 3D form factors. Furthermore, conventional PCBs are often difficult to recycle at the end-of-life, leading to hard to process waste streams. This PhD research programme will investigate “substrateless” manufacturing technologies to produce electronic modules and 3D parts where the components are directly embedded and interconnected within the surrounding matrix, without the need for a PCB. The project will combine novel printable electrically conductive inks (based on surface treated metal particle fillers) with polymer overmoulding technologies and additive (e.g. laser sintering) processing. With the elimination of a substrate, these techniques will offer opportunities to focus on novel 3D structures, while also addressing sustainable approaches to end-of-life product management through suitable materials selection and separation methods.
Entry requirements Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Electronics Manufacturing, Surface Science, Polymer Processing
Please note that studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and other advertised projects starting with advert reference ‘WS’ for the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering.
If awarded, each 3-year studentship will provide a tax-free stipend of £15,009 p/a, plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,327 p/a). While we welcome applications from non-EU nationals, please be advised that it will only be possible to fund the tuition fees at the international rate and no stipend will be available. Successful candidates will be notified by 30th September 2019.