A fully funded 3-year PhD studentship (UK/EU only) is offered in the School of Metallurgy & Materials, University of Birmingham under the supervision of Dr David Collins.
The research group focuses on manufacturing and processing methods related to advanced metal forming technologies that have application in aerospace and automotive sectors. This includes deformation mechanics & microstructure/phase evolution, that are investigated using state-of-the art in-situ synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction experimental methods. Along with electron microscopy characterisation and modelling methods, the research group targets understanding at the crystal level to interpret, manipulate and exploit the material behaviour to improve performance at the component level.
Many metal processing methods are well established for the manufacture of components used widely in automotive and aerospace applications, however, the methods themselves are far from optimal. Innovations in such processing methods have huge potential to enable the manufacture of components that simply cannot be fabricated using existing methods. This PhD project will focus on developing novel methods to control texture and microstructure to improve the formability of magnesium and magnesium alloys. These alloys are exceptionally attractive for sheet forming applications due to their low density, however, their inherently limited ductility prevents their widespread use. The limited ductility arises from a number of factors including basal plane dislocation slip dominating over any other system, a low stacking fault energy that promotes twinning, and an inherently strong basal texture resulting from prior thermo-mechanical processing.
The PhD project will explore the fundamental deformation mechanisms at play during both the processing of the blank sheet (control of texture and microstructure) and subsequent biaxial deformation (analogous to the sheet forming operation) of Mg and Mg alloys. Changing the alloy composition adds further complexity due to its strong coupling to texture and microstructure. This project will make progress beyond the current state of the art via the use of in-situ characterisation methods that will allow individual microstructural features to be monitored throughout the whole process. Knowledge gained from this will be used to redesign the initial pedigree to improve formability. Electron microscopy techniques (SEM and TEM) at University of Birmingham and in-situ X-ray diffraction experiments at synchrotron sources (building from methods previously developed [1,2]) will be employed. The scope for this project is wide and can be tailored to the applicant’s expertise/interests, including modelling activities if desired. For additional queries about this project, please contact David Collins via email ([email protected]
 Collins, D.M., Erinosho, T., Dunne, F.P.E., Todd, R.I., Connolley, T., Mostafavi, M., Kupfer, H., Wilkinson, AJ., A synchrotron X-ray diffraction study of non-proportional strain-path effects, Acta Materialia 124 (2017) 290-304.
 Collins, D.M. Mostafavi, M., Todd, R.I., Connolley, T., Wilkinson, A.J., A synchrotron X-ray diffraction study of in situ biaxial deformation, Acta Materialia 90 (2015) 46-58 2015.
Funding is restricted to UK or EU candidates only. The successful applicant must hold a first degree (minimum upper second class) in Materials Science, Physics, Mechanical Engineering or related discipline. Experience in electron microscopy and/or diffraction techniques will be advantageous. Applications should be made via the University of Birmingham online application system , including a full CV, a covering letter that describes your experience and suitability for the PhD, along with two references.
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