A fully funded 4 years PhD studentship within the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (EPSRC industrial CASE award, co-funded by SECO Tools, Sweden) is available which aims to investigate the machining and material removal mechanics at microscale during micro-cutting operations and develop a predictive tool to estimate the product life.
· Available for start in October 2022
· Annual Tax-free salary of £16,800 For 4 years
· Includes 3 months training at AMRC and SECO Tools company premises within the UK and Sweden
Metal cutting operations are used to generate new surfaces and achieve the required dimensional and geometric accuracy of the parts for various applications in the aerospace, defence, space, and medical sectors. This is more critical where the required material to be removed becomes minimal as advanced near net-shape processes such as additive manufacturing operations are maturing for the production of high-performance components. In this context, the applied cutting tools become smaller (in the order of a few tens of micrometres), in both diameter and size, hence the tool-workpiece material interactions could significantly affect the machined part quality. This significantly differs from the conventional operations where the material removal in form of the chip is at a macroscopic scale. Additionally, there is a need for technology push to support the cutting tool providers with the embedded process knowledge in this niche area where engineering and medical components are being processed. At the moment, micromachining is heavily dependent on trial and error and conservative applications of cutting tools and parameters. If material level chip formation mechanics can be better understood, then optimisation techniques applied in macro milling can be realised in micro machining applications.
The proposed research aims to better understand the mechanics of chip formation and its effect on parts quality in the micro-scale machining operations to better support cutting tool providers with embedded process knowledge in an optimised tool and process design. The project is in close collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the candidate will use variety of experimental techniques and modelling methods to investigate the mechanics of deformation and chip formation. The cutting process will be focussed at the scale of the materials microstructure and understand the machining induced effect on the service life of the components as well as the cutting tool performance. The candidate will work closely with experts at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (the University of Sheffield) as well as SECO Tools both in the UK and Sweden. Wider industrial engagement is also being targeted to ensure the project is complemented by case study driven industrial challenges in this space.
The research project requires skills in the Mechanical engineering and/or Materials Science and engineering areas. A first or higher 2.1 degrees in Mechanical, Materials Science, Aerospace or General Engineering or MSc in these areas with a previous experience of using Finite Element methods for modelling non-linear problems would be desirable to undertake this research. In addition, having experience of using or familiarity with conventional machining techniques and programming expertise are beneficial. The research is conducted in English.
Overseas candidates will require an overall of 6.5 in IELTS with 6 in each component or an equivalent English qualification.