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Additive manufacturing of reactive materials

   Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS), Shrivenham Campus

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  Dr R Vrcelj  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project offers the exciting chance to work in the fields of Additive manufacturing and reactive materials. The recent development of Additive Manufacturing (AM) methods allows the generation of novel geometries for energetics delivery and also the possibility of controlling the associated chemistry. 

The work will initially focus on “simple” geometric constructs, without the requirement for chemical change, e.g. methods for producing unusual effects within a printed device by controlling the geometry. This will test the validity of the printing approach and allow multi-material manufacturing and using different particle sizes. Alongside the development of novel shapes and binder selection are appropriate analytical studies, such as chemical compatibility and measurement of the energetic effects.

This leads to the second phase of the study, introducing new chemical types to observe how this may change the performance printed item, removing interfaces where failures occur etc. and leading to a range of novel energetic systems’

The work will encompass both manufacture and testing. An understanding of coding would be advantageous.

The aims of the project are four-fold:

• Develop new AM methods for reactive materials

• Develop safety aspects of handling these materials

• Control the architecture and geometry of the printed items

• Control the chemistry of the printed items

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) provide unique educational opportunities to the Defence and security sectors of both public and private sector organisations.

Based at the UK Defence Academy at Shrivenham in Oxfordshire, CDS is the academic provider to the UK Ministry of Defence for postgraduate education at the Defence Academy, training in engineering, science, acquisition, management and leadership.

The work is part of a larger project to understand how AM can work and deliver safe and reliable manufacturing for reactive materials, so the work will have a direct impact on the future manufacturing processes, both by identifying good practice and how safety properties may change. The work will directly feed into the sponsors understanding of the process.

You will have the opportunity to be part of developing new methods of manufacturing that will play a major role in future industrial capability and will have the chance to attend conferences, both nationally and internationally, as well as direct contact, support and liaison with experts in the field and from the sponsor. The sponsor will strongly support you and will have direct contact with yourself during their period of study.

In addition to the general skills that a PhD student will gain, planning, scientific methods, application of technology to real processes, you will have the chance to be exposed to current and future work in the Defence industry and gain additional experience of industry, as well as a foothold in modern scientific studies.

Funding Notes

This project is fully funded by the MoD for all eligible UK applicants, a bursary of £16,000 p.a. is provided per annum.


Applicants should have a first or second class honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as engineering, chemistry or physics, or other industrial experience. The ideal candidate should have some understanding in the area of programming, design, experimental skills and industrial service delivery.
The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stake holders, with an interest for industrial research. Any successful candidate will be required to undergo security clearance prior to starting the project.
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