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School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Dr Sung in Kim No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Belfast United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering

About the Project

The aerothermal behaviours in additively manufactured key turbine components will be characterised through numerical and experimental tests. Furthermore, key correlations between the additive manufacturing parameters and aerothermal characteristics will be developed to produce innovative and effective design parameters and ultimately more innovative designs of turbine components and cooling system. Academic Requirements: Undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering or equivalent academic discipline, with good achievement in Fluid Mechanics or Aerodynamics, Thermodynamics and Math

Manufacturing turbine blades with a conventional approach requires additional processes due to complex geometries, which could be eliminated if all features are produced in the same process; this will be an innovative manufacturing. Fully integrated functional devices, not just individual piece-parts, can be produced in one build, as the additive manufacturing (AM) technology permits the consolidation and functional integration of parts. Functional integration of parts reduces the number of parts, thus reducing the challenges encountered during the assembly process. The increased design freedom by AM will enable more efficient and effective designs of turbine blades that will ultimately lead to further increases in overall gas turbine engine efficiency. However, AM results in significant inherent surface roughness on turbine blades. Developing the understanding and predictability of aerothermal behaviour for AM surface roughness is clearly required.

The synergetic behaviour of AM with optimal design is another advantage. Design optimization is a powerful design approach to save time, material and energy. For gas turbine engine components, there are mostly extreme requirements that lead to very complex part geometries, as aerothermal performance increases with complexity. AM technology provides the designer with greater design freedom and facilitates the production of complex part topology that cannot be produced with the conventional manufacturing techniques. Therefore, design optimization can be used to reduce the weight of engine parts, by modifying their topology and exploiting/controlling surface roughness, while maintaining their functional requirements and improving their performance.

In this project, the aerothermal behaviours in additively manufactured key turbine components will be characterised through numerical and experimental tests. Furthermore, the development of innovative and effective design parameters and correlations between the aerothermal characteristics and AM parameters will allow a turbine designer to make good use of AM parameters including surface roughness to produce more innovative designs.

The successful outcome of the project will contribute towards advancing a new generation of more efficient propulsion technologies through the opportunity of providing better understanding of aerothermal behaviour in additively manufactured turbine components, as well as appropriate and effective design/manufacturing parameters exploiting AM for more innovative turbine blade designs.


Doing a PhD in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is a highly rewarding experience. You will carry out your research in a friendly and supportive environment, supervised by academics who are leaders in their field, using well-equipped laboratories and research facilities, alongside students from all over the world. We have around 100 students enrolled on a PhD at a time. The School has a vibrant PhD student mentoring programme and a student led Research Culture Committee.

The School’s research is focused around six interconnected research themes: Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, Future Aircraft, Composite Materials and Structures, Simulation Technologies, Clean Energy and Biomaterials and Biomechanics.

PhD opportunities are available in a wide range of subjects aligned to the specific expertise of our PhD supervisors. Many are linked with leading companies and organisations.

Key Facts

Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in the research activities undertaken within the School. Students attend international conferences and participate in relevant external academic and industrial networks worldwide.

  • The School has strong links with both local and international engineering employers, and has longstanding relationships with companies such as Airbus, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren F1 and Rolls-Royce.
  • PhD research contributes to major interdisciplinary centres in the University, including:
  • •Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE)
  • •Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC)
  • •Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC)
  • The School has well equipped laboratories and great research facilities. PhD students share offices alongside postdoctoral staff. The School has Research Culture Committee to enhance the research environment of the School and support PhD students.
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