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Assessment of Sustainable Composite Materials using Novel Flat Optical Fibre

   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr Christopher Holmes  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:  Christopher Holmes, Janice Barton, Khosru Rahman, Stuart Kitching

Project description

Composite materials have revolutionised engineering, from highly efficient wind turbine blades that generate our electricity to composite wing aircraft that have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of flight. This PhD, supported by BAE Systems, develops advanced optical monitoring of composite material to tackle decarbonisation and sustainability of composite material.

Current lightweight carbon fibre composite solutions are not sustainable. This PhD tackles this challenge by development of a novel sensing capabilities that will enable assessment and understanding of eco-friendly and sustainable composite materials (such as natural plant-based fibres). The ultimate ambition is to deliver lightweight sustainable solutions for the future.

 Recent collaboration between the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton and the Composites Institute at the University of Bristol has developed a new type of optical sensor [1]. The sensor is based upon an ultra-thin glass sheet (50um thick) that can be connected to regular optical fibre and embedded into composite material. It provides unique in-plane and through-thickness strain information without compromising mechanical integrity of the composite in which it is placed.

In this PhD you will have the opportunity to develop this new sensor platform and combine it with established ultrasonic assessment techniques to understand sustainable high value composite materials. You will grow expertise in optical fibre and composite manufacture. You will collaborate across disciplines, with world-leading Teams from the University of Southampton and the University of Bristol developing technology that offers routes for tailored composite manufacture and assess fragility to impact and environmental events.

[1] Christopher Holmes, Mike Godfrey, Daniel John Bull, Janice Dulieu-Barton, ‘Real-time through-thickness and in-plane strain measurement in carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites using planar optical Bragg gratings’, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, Volume 133, 106111, (2020).

The PhD programme

Our world-leading research centre is a hive of activity with over 200 staff and students working on cutting-edge research to provide innovative solutions for real life problems in manufacturing, communication technology, defence, health care, renewable energy and the environment.

We are looking for the photonics pioneers of the future to join our vibrant research team and work alongside our world-class researchers to make history. Our PhD programme offers a solid start to any career in optics, photonics or engineering, whether you are planning to stay in academia or work in industry.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent). in physics, materials science, mechanical or electronic engineering. Experimental skills are essential. In addition to the iCASE PhD studentship Award, this position includes an annual allowance to enable attendance at international conferences.

Closing date: 30th June 2022

Funding: for UK students, Tuition Fee and enhanced stipend of £18,000 p.a, for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in the Optoelectronics Research Centre to the University of Southampton including the fact that you wish to do a PhD within Dr Christopher Holmes. Please see the following address for more details: https://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/how-to-apply/

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

For further information please contact: [Email Address Removed]

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