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Additive Manufacturing of Composites for Railway Switches and Crossings

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The University of Birmingham is host to the world-leading Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, a multi-disciplinary group of staff from the Schools of Civil Engineering, Electronic, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials & Metallurgy. The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education brings together a multidisciplinary team from across the University to tackle fundamental railway engineering problems.

Railway turnouts (or switches and crossings) are generally subjected to impact loading when wheel transfers over a crossing. The unpredictability of frequent structural damages of turnout components (especially concrete bearers) increases the cost of railway maintenance and the downtime of railway operation. To drive down these negative impacts, this project will develop new radical solutions for track support structures by integrating composites and additive technology suitable for railway switches and crossings.

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship from UK/EU candidates to carry out research on the additive technology for composite turnout support structure. International students are welcome to discuss potential support from the project (which can cover international tuition fee). It is expected that a radical switches and crossings will be developed in conjunction with new track support solutions. This project will investigate the innovative design of composite turnout bearers and to establish additive technology for the component suitable for railway environment.

We are looking for people to conduct research alongside the research fellows, and academics to develop advanced materials for critical railway infrastructure. This is a challenging problem with a commercial potential for rail industry application. S/he will work within the European Project (S-CODE) under the Shift2Rail Undertaking ( The multi-disciplinary interface with other experts in another project RISEN ( will be made available.

Applications are therefore sought from individuals with an interest and experience in civil, structural, mechanical and advanced materials engineering but who also have a potential interest in field testing and full-scale laboratory tests. Informal enquires can be sent to Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen ([Email Address Removed]) and in the first instance should contain a covering letter and a CV.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree (and preferably a Master’s degree) in an Engineering or a related subject. This studentship will pay full University fees and a maintenance allowance of at least £14,582 per year for UK/EU students. EU citizens are also eligible for the full scholarship (the condition will be maintained after Brexit). International students are welcome to discuss potential support from the project (which can cover international tuition fee).

To apply, please complete covering letter and send it with your C.V. to Dr Jenny Illingsworth ([Email Address Removed]). The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in each school, the funding opportunities for each subject, and guidance on making your application, you can now order your copy of the new Doctoral Research Prospectus, at:

Funding Notes

For excellent applicants (very good first degree), there is the potential for funding for Home / EU students that will cover fees at the current Home / EU student rate and a stipend. Overseas students are welcome to apply but should note that they will be required to be either completely self-funding, or to make up the difference between Home and Overseas fees. Please also search available sources of funding at:

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 18.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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