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(CDT Advanced Metallic Systems) Titanium cold dwell fatigue loading - effect of stress concentrations


   Department of Materials

  , Dr J Fonseca,  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project is based at the Department of Materials at the University of Manchester, and is sponsored by Airbus. We are seeking a UK national with a 2.1 or 1st class degree in a STEM discipline. cold dwell fatigue can occur under cyclic loading where the maximum tensile load is maintained for a given duration (e.g. 2 minutes). The phenomenon is called “cold” dwell fatigue. It is prevalent at room temperature and remains pronounced at 120°C but fades out above 200°C. It has been discovered that this loading regime can lead to a large knock-down in fatigue life in certain titanium alloys, when there is strong crystallographic texture heterogeneity in the material. Cold dwell fatigue was found to be the cause of several relatively recent failures of aero engines, which experienced Ti-64 front fan-hub ruptures (see Figure & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEli6jXRlzI). It is therefore a high priority for aircraft manufactures to better understand the risks this phenomenon might pose to other airframe components, which can have different microstructures and loading regimes.

In particular, there is an urgent need to understand if dwell fatigue can lead to a fatigue life debit around fasteners which create a local stress concentration, but a more complex local stress field, and during growth of cracks. This is because airframes are designed for ‘damage tolerance’, where a pre-existing crack is assumed to exist and life is calculated on the basis of the crack growth rate. Both of these topics have not been previously sufficiently addressed in the context of a dwell debit.

The aim of this project will be to use advanced materials testing and characterization techniques and modelling to understand the sensitivity of TI64 materials with heterogeneous textures to damage accumulation around stress concentrations and during crack propagation under dwell fatigue loading conditions. This will involve running high fidelity in-situ cyclic loading tests, while employing a digital image correlation technique to measure the plasticity that occurs locally within the microstructure, using model materials that have been sourced with different types of texture heterogeneity. The results of such experiments will be compared to crystal plasticity simulations, using modelling tools being developed in the LightForm research group (https://lightform.org.uk)

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Metallic Systems is a partnership between industry and the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester and I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Centre, Dublin. CDT students undertake a 4-year doctorate with an in-depth compulsory technical and professional skills training programme. Please review our training programme, application process and full entry requirements at http://www.metallicscdt.co.uk. Please note, application is only via the University of Manchester (see website), and general enquiries can be made to the CDT (). For more information on the research scope of the project please contact Phillip Prangnell at

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

 All appointments are made on merit.

Please note that this project will close before the advertised end date if a suitable applicant is secured. We suggest that you do not delay submitting your application.


Funding Notes

This is a 4 year PhD studentship covering fees and stipend (£16,062 in 2022-23) plus £3,250 per year top-up. Funding will cover UK tuition fee and stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of scholarships that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.
Open ended until a suitable candidate is recruited.

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