Embedded Sensing, Actuation and Control for Robust Lightweight Structures


   School of Civil, Aerospace, and Design Engineering

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  Dr Rainer Groh  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The project:

Imagine a network of sensors and actuators embedded in a thin-walled composite structure, with this network able to estimate the current state of the structure (deformation and stability) and apply active or automatic control to tailor the structural shape and stiffness. Such a configuration would provide the structure with a sense of proprioception (or kinaesthesia), enabling it to self-adapt by making decisions to stiffen certain portions of the geometry or switch to an alternative state. Such capabilities would be transformative for many applications, e.g. for exoskeletons that can self-sense their response to loads and adapt their compliance and support to individual users, or load-carrying structures that can selectively stiffen to prevent the onset buckling or nudge the structure into a stable post-buckling configuration 

Fundamental questions on how to develop such embedded structural intelligence include:

  • global structural shape/state estimation through embedded actuation and sensing;
  • incorporating control algorithms on active nonlinear structures;
  • exploration of how embedded sensing, actuation and control can increase robustness of functionality to morphing and lightweight structures. 

 This project explores the concept of embedded sensors and actuators, combined with feedback control, to enhance the performance of lightweight composite structures. The project can be tailored to a computational or experimental route or a combination of both.  

How to apply:

Before applying, please email the Rainer Groh ([Email Address Removed]) and Mark Schenk ([Email Address Removed]) for initial enquiries about the project. 

Please make an online application for this project at http://www.bris.ac.uk/pg-howtoapply. Please select Aerospace Engineering on the Programme Choice page. Please ensure that in the Funding section you tick “I would like to be considered for a funding award from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.  

Candidate requirements: 

Applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of a master’s degree (or international equivalent) in a science, mathematics or engineering discipline. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of readiness to pursue a research degree. 

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level: Profile E 

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels


Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Funding will be agreed following a competitive allocation process.
If successful this will cover fees and stipend for 3.5 years at the UKRI standard rate (currently £18,600 per annum), plus £3,500 in Research Training Support Grant.

Where will I study?

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