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Evolution of properties and composition of material powders in additive manufacturing

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Fitzpatrick
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree with Coventry’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

A candidate is required for a research studentship in collaboration with NSIRC on assurance of powder quality in additive manufacturing (AM), primarily for powder that has passed through an AM machine to determine whether powder re-use is detrimental to the properties of the final component.

The material quality in an additive manufactured part is critically dependent on the quality of the precursor powder used: alloying content; consistency within and between powder batches; and consistency of physical properties that will influence melting behaviour and possible subsequent segregation of alloying elements. A key question that has not been addressed is the re-use of powders.

This programme will look at assurance of powder quality in AM, primarily for powder that has passed through an AM machine to determine whether powder re-use is detrimental to the properties of the final component. The experimental work will have three strands: (1) manufacture of test samples in different materials by re-use of powder over several iterations; (2) mechanical property characterization; (3) detailed characterisation of powders using state-of-the-art neutron and synchrotron X-ray methods.

Four materials will be studied: titanium alloy, aerospace aluminium, nickel-base alloy and austenitic steel. The test samples will have strength and ductility measured, to evaluate if there is a deterioration in properties as a consequence of the powder re-use. High-resolution diffraction can distinguish second phases even at these low volume fractions. For the alloys proposed, small-angle neutron scattering will be used. This comprehensive set of experiments of metallurgical characterisation coupled with mechanical property measurement will give a robust basis on which decisions can be made regarding development and assurance of protocols for re-use of powder in additive manufacturing techniques.

Areas of study will include: high-resolution powder diffraction; the novel “total scattering” technique; and small-angle scattering to determine the degree of damage introduced into the powders by repeated passage through the AM machine.

Abut the Host Centre:
Our research in the Centre of Manufacturing and Materials Engineering (MME) builds upon our historic research at Coventry, and adds new research teams through investment and growth. It integrates seamlessly with the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, our flagship collaboration with Unipart Manufacturing.

This area of research will take a holistic approach to fabrication and manufacturing, focusing on the three strands of Materials, Processes and Products; and underpinned by our expertise in Materials Engineering and Advanced Experimentation and Modelling Approaches.

NSIRC is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with top UK and International Universities and a number of leading industrial partners. NSIRC aims to deliver cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners.

Candidate Specification:
Successful applicants will have:

• A good first degree in Material Engineering, Physics or Mechanical Engineering with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average, or

• A Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at merit level (60%).

• The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study

• Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

Duration of study:
Full-Time - three years six months fixed term

Application Procedure:
Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Professor Michael Fitzpatrick ([email protected]) (and cc in [email protected]) for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity.

Application Deadline:
This opportunity will only remain open until a suitable candidate is identified- early application is therefore advised. Standard University research application closing dates apply

Funding Notes

£16,000 bursary plus tuition fees

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