FindAPhD Weekly PhD Newsletter | JOIN NOW FindAPhD Weekly PhD Newsletter | JOIN NOW

Effect of Processing on 3D Printed Materials properties and technologies (Advert Reference: RDF22/EE/MCE/LAFDI)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Prof Khalid Lafdi, Assoc Prof Phil Hackney  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing and rapid prototyping, has the potential to significantly reduce the cost, weight, and long lead times of a variety of critical components for many applications. Uniquely, it produces both the micro and macrostructure of the final element in a single machine/process, providing the user with unprecedented flexibility that integrates both design and manufacturing. Because of its potential, AM has evolved so rapidly that the fundamental understanding of the material, process, and their interactions has been largely neglected.

This study aims to investigate physical changes during the 3D printing of polymers such as polylactic acid (PLA). The correlations between the chemistry, surface topography, orientation, porosity, crystallinity, and mechanical properties of the printed parts will be studied. Moreover, the effects of the build-platform temperature will be investigated. The experimental results confirmed the anisotropy of printed objects due to the occurrence of orientation phenomena during the filament deposition and the formation both of ordered and disordered crystalline forms. A post-treatment will be proposed as a solution to improve the printed products’ mechanical properties.

A big emphasis will be dedicated to filament technology. The effect of micro and nano-additives additives such as carbon fibers, carbon blacks, graphene, and carbon nanotubes. will be studied. A finite element model will be developed and verified experimentally.

Therefore, this project aims to develop new materials based on thermoplastic polymers (TP) modified with nano-additives and/or fibers, capable of printing multi-material (MM) components compatible with different functionalities. The main objective of the proposed work is to determine a three-dimensional image of the material microstructure developed during 3D printing. The focus will be on the progressive formation and evolution of phases at different scales. The approach will include four main areas: processes, materials, processing, microstructure, and properties.

This work also aims to study and understand the mechanisms that link process-microstructure properties of a composite and/or nanocomposite made by 3D printing. We will try to evaluate the impact of the elaborated process on the 3D architecture of the final material. It is with a dual objective, on the one hand, the best knowledge from a fundamental point of view of the important parameters of the additive manufacturing (effect of printing parameters: chamber temperature, nozzle diameter, printing speed, table speed...) on the final product (evolution of the temperature gradient, deflection, residual stress...) and the other hand, the best control of the mechanical properties of these materials to be able to consider their use in specific applications.

The Principal Supervisor for this project is Professor Khalid Lafdi.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF22/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.


Raimondo, M., Guadagno, L., Vertuccio, L., Naddeo, C., Barra, G., Spinelli, G., & Lafdi, K. (2018). Electrical conductivity of carbon nanofiber reinforced resins: potentiality of tunneling atomic force microscopy (TUNA) technique. Composites Part B: Engineering, 143, 148-160.
• El Moumen, A., Tarfaoui, M., & Lafdi, K. (2018). Computational homogenization of mechanical properties for laminate composites reinforced with thin film made of carbon nanotubes. Applied Composite Materials, 25(3), 569-588.
• El Moumen, A., Tarfaoui, M., & Lafdi, K. (2019). Additive manufacturing of polymer composites: Processing and modeling approaches. Composites Part B: Engineering, vol 171 Pages 166-182
PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs