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Design, Analysis, and Development of Bio-inspired Mechanical Metatructures and Metamaterials


   School of Engineering

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  Dr P Sareh, Prof P Y Chen  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project is part of a 4-year Dual PhD degree programme between the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and the University of Liverpool in England. As Part of the NTHU-UoL Dual PhD Award students are in the unique position of being able to gain 2 PhD awards at the end of their degree from two internationally recognised world leading Universities. As well as benefiting from a rich cultural experience, students can draw on large scale national facilities of both countries and create a worldwide network of contacts across two continents.

This project will develop new bio-inspired mechanical metastructures/metamaterials and demonstrate their performance using computational tools and experimental tests. This research project has the following overall aims: (1) To develop novel geometrical designs for mechanical metastructures/metamaterials, taking inspirations from nature, as well as from creative arts fields such as origami and kirigami; (2) to characterise the mechanical properties of the designed metastructures/metamaterials numerically (using FEA) and validate them experimentally using additive manufacturing and mechanical testing facilities; and (3) to develop proof-of-concept prototypes, and to explore real-world applications for the developed technologies.

In this project, a variety of mechanical metamaterials and metastructures inspired from nature and creative arts will be investigated by observation, structural characterization, mechanical testing, multi-scale modelling/simulation, property/functionality design and optimization, and advanced manufacturing. We have established collaboration with the National Museum of Natural Science and Dr. Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Center and can acquire biological samples with mechanical metastructures. The folding-unfolding process and transforming mechanisms will be observed and recorded by high-speed photography and high-resolution imaging. The multi-scale structural features will be characterized by micro-CT scans, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), SEM and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The tensile/compressive mechanical performance will be evaluated by the universal testing machines and the micro-scale localized mechanical properties will be measured by nanoindentation. We will collaborate with Prof. Tsung-Hui Huang (Department of Power Mechanical Engineering, NTHU) on advanced numerical methods (mesh-based or mesh-free method), multi-scale modelling, data-driven simulations, and AI/ML-aid approaches. We aim to elucidate the structure-property-function relationships and critical design strategies of nature/art-inspired metamaterials and metastructures.

The PhD student will spend two years at National Tsing Hua University (Biological & Bioinspired Materials Laboratory) followed by two years studying at the University of Liverpool (Creative Design Engineering Lab (Cdel)). The project will involve systematic design and structural form-finding of novel mechanical metamaterials and metastructures, followed by geometrical and topological optimisation using classic/metaheuristic methods. A selected group of designed metamaterial prototypes will be fabricated by advanced manufacturing techniques, including 3D printings of polymer, polymer-based composite, and metal/alloy-based materials as well as precision laser processing/machining. We will explore various real-world applications of the developed technologies and evaluate the effectiveness of concepts using a number of feasibility studies.

We are seeking candidates with a minimum of 2:1 (or equivalent) first degree in Mechanical, Aerospace, Materials, Structural, or Design Engineering, or a related subject. Strong analytical and computational skills are essential. Previous experience or knowledge in one or more of the following areas is highly desirable: (1) Finite Element Analysis (FEA), (2) CAD and Parametric Modelling, (3) Materials Characterization & Analysis, (4) Experimental Structural Characterisation, and (5) Geometrical/Topological Optimisation. Furthermore, strong communication, interdisciplinary approach, and team working skills are required.

For academic enquires please contact Dr Pooya Sareh [Email Address Removed] & Dr Po-Yu Chen [Email Address Removed]

For enquires on the application process or to find out more about the Dual programme please contact [Email Address Removed]

To apply please visit: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/how-to-apply/ When applying please ensure you quote the supervisor & project title you wish to apply for and note ‘NTHU-UoL Dual Scholarship’ when asked for details of how plan to finance your studies.


Funding Notes

It is planned that students will spend 2 years at NTHU, followed by 2 years at the University of Liverpool.
Both the University of Liverpool and NTHU have agreed to waive the tuition fees for the duration of the project and stipend of TWD 11,000/month will be provided as a contribution to living costs (the equivalent of £280 per month when in Liverpool).
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