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EngD in Development of a Powder-Based Manufacturing Route for Affordable Titanium Aluminide Sheet for Nacelle Engine Applications

   Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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  Prof M Jackson  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project sits within the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Advanced Metallic Systems - a distinct research centre formed by a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester and the I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Centre, Dublin. Our doctoral students undertake a different doctoral programme, which includes a compulsory intensive technical and professional skills training programme throughout the 4-year project. For more information on our training programme content, aimed at converting graduates from a non-materials topic into metallurgy, please review our website (linked below).

This EngD project is based at the Department of Materials at the University of Sheffield, and is sponsored by Boeing Research and Technology Europe. We are seeking a candidate with a 2.1 or 1st class degree in a STEM discipline.

Intermetallic titanium aluminides (TiAl) based alloys provide a good combination of low density, high strength at elevated temperatures, good oxidation and hot gas corrosion resistance, providing excellent engineering properties for structural aerospace applications and automotive turbocharger applications. They have been proven in recent applications, such as the low-pressure turbine (LPT) blades in the GEnx commercial aircraft engine (Boeing 787). TiAl based alloys provide unique properties for aerostructural high temperature applications and can replace heavier nickel-based superalloys. 

Many potential future applications will require TiAl based alloys in sheet form which requires homogeneous ingot feedstock, extrusion/forging and controlled hot and cold rolling schedules. Multi-pass schedules for TiAl based alloys from ingot is challenging, as process windows are very narrow due to micro-segregation during the casting process. And therefore, further research is needed to increase the use of TiAl based alloys from powder metallurgy routes in wider structural aerospace applications, such as engine nacelle parts, which are reaching their operating limits. Outputs generated from this EngD will provide further confidence in the processing of such alloys with aspirations of a lower cost processing route for such sheet product from powder. This will ultimately contribute to reduced fuel consumption and make air and space transport greener.

In this exciting EngD project, solid state powder routes, such as hot isostatic pressing and field-assisted sintering, will be used in conjunction with controlled hot and cold rolling to determine the effects of powder characteristics and alloy composition on the (1) hot rolling and thermomechanical processing characteristics and (2) microstructure and property development. In the first instance pack rolling in stainless steel packages and using heated rolls will be applied - to enhance the ductility, reduce oxidation and reduce cracking susceptibility. FE modelling software will be used to correlate thermomechanical processing, plane strain rolling parameters with microstructural evolution. Post hot rolling processing, such as cold rolling and superplastic forming will be related to the upstream powder-based, hot rolling route.

The project will use state-of-the-art advanced metals processing and characterisation facilities in the Henry Royce Institute at Sheffield.

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

For more information on the research scope of the project please contact Martin Jackson at [Email Address Removed]. Informal enquiries about the AMS CDT training programme should be sent to [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

UKRI rate (£17,668 p.a. in 2022-23) plus £5,000 per year top-up
This project will close as soon as a suitable applicant is secured. We suggest that you do not delay submitting your PGR application to The University of Sheffield. Enquires via FindaPhD are not considered as applications.
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