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Audible Acoustics for Damage Detection in Aerospace Composite Structures

Project Description

Cardiff University, Airbus, AcSoft and gfai tech are offering this unique opportunity to be part of an international collaboration to develop a carbon fibre composite damage detection system using Audible Acoustics (AA) for aerospace applications. The aim of the PhD studentship will be to establish the fundamental science in this novel area, this includes:
- Manufacture and testing of composite components;
- Experimental investigation to determine the relationship between damage initiation and growth and the resulting AA signatures;
- Developing signal processing techniques by translating traditional Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques and applying to AA;
- Development of advanced signal processing techniques to enhance detection and classify different damage mechanisms.

The project will be divided into three main Work Packages

WP1 – Damage growth and resulting AA relationship – The objective will be to understand the mechanisms between damage initiation and the associated release of sound. Therefore, an extensive experimental programme will be undertaken to promote different failure types. The milestone (M1) will be completion of the experimental testing alongside a journal paper (Deliverable - D1) on the development of an AA damage detection system.

WP2 - AA signal processing – The objective will be to develop a suite of signal processing techniques to confidently detect damage. This will include techniques translated from traditional NDT and involve advanced signal processing algorithms to enhance damage detection. The deliverable (D2) will be a journal paper on the associated signal processing techniques. In conjunction with two milestones (M2.1) will be an open source suite of signal processing techniques which will be available to others and a presentation at a national conference (M2.2)

WP3 – Validation testing on realistic structures – The aim will be to combine the outcomes of WP1 and WP2 and apply them to realistic composite structures. The deliverables D3.1 will be the development of a demonstrator platform and D3.2 a case study journal paper. Again, there will be two milestones, M3.1 will be the completion of the validation trials and M3.2 a presentation at an international conference.

The deliverables and milestones will be aligned with the student’s internal review process ensuring progress and expectations are suitably managed throughout the project. The internal review process consists of a 3 month, annual and interim reviews between the annual meetings. The experimental programme methodology will be finalised at the initial 3-month review. Annual review 1 objective will be completion of the experimental programme (M1 and D1). Interim review 1 will coincide with the journal paper on the signal processing techniques (D2). The aims of annual review 2 will be publishing of the open source signal processing suite (M2.1) and presenting at a national conference (M2.2). Interim review 2 will see the student complete the development of the platform for field trials (D3.1). Annual review 3 objectives will be the completion of the testing on representative structures (M3.1), the associated journal paper (D3.2) and presenting the results at an international conference (M3.2). This framework will ensure the student is fully supported and will lead to the successful completion of the project.


You should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK.

Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a master’s degree. Applicants with a minimum Upper Second Class degree and significant relevant non-academic experience are encouraged to apply.

Funding Notes

Full awards, including the Tuition fee and maintenance stipend (Approx. £14,777 in 2018/19), are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.


Applications should be made online at:

Please note the following when completing your online application:

The Programme name is Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering with an October 2019 start date.

In the "Research proposal and Funding" section of your application, please specify the project title, supervisors of the project and copy the project description in the text box provided.

Please select “No, I am not self-funding my research” when asked whether you are self-funding your research.

Please quote “project ID” when asked "Please provide the name of the funding you are applying for".

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