Modelling and understanding induction heating for additive manufacturing PhD or MSc by Research

   School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing (SATM)

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  Dr Yongle Sun, Dr J Ding  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

We are looking for a motivated candidate to pursue PhD / MSc by Research based on a project entitled “Modelling and understanding induction heating for additive manufacturing”. This opportunity arises in the field of large-scale additive manufacturing using metal wire as feedstock, and the project aims to underpin innovation in directed energy deposition process with enhanced control on thermal condition and higher production rate. 

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a rapidly evolving technology that embraces many innovations and finds wider applications in industries such as aerospace, energy and automobile. Wire-based directed energy deposition (DED) is an important AM variant that involves a coaxial feed of wire to an energy source, such as laser and electric arc, to form a melted layer on a substrate, thereby building a 3D object in a layer-by-layer fashion. To enhance the deposition rate without compromising the geometric precision of the deposit, combination of different energy sources for synergistic heating is a promising route, which enables independent control on wire melting, molten pool evolution and substrate temperature.

Induction heating has great potential for applications in preheating or melting the wire for the wire-based DED process. The preheating means that the energy required for melting the wire by the laser or arc can be reduced, thereby depositing the material faster. The inductor itself can be used as a novel energy source for depositing material at low heat input. The induction heating assisted AM is an underexplored area compared to other AM processes, and experimental exploration of this promising area needs guidance to reduce the costly and time-consuming trial and error. Modelling of induction heating is useful for identifying the influential factors for the heating efficacy, understanding the heating process, and underpinning the design of the inductor system and its setup for AM purpose. This project will develop and validate an induction heating model for wire-based DED application, and investigate the following topics:

  • Understanding the induction heating process and identifying the key influential factors.
  • Optimising the design of the inductor system including the geometry and configuration of the coils.
  • Optimising the induction heating process with consideration of different cores and geometries of the wire (or strip), as well as different power input.
  • Model validation experiments.

The student will be based at the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre (WELPC). The Centre is recognised for the impact of its research into advanced fusion-based processing / manufacturing methods on industry, through extensive MSc and PhD research, and its rolling technology development programme on large-scale additive manufacturing. This project will have close links to EPSRC research programmes of New Wire Additive Manufacturing (NEWAM - EP/R027218/1) and Sustainable Additive Manufacturing. The student will be integrated in a diverse and vibrant researcher community at WELPC. In addition, opportunity for working with WELPC’s industrial partners (e.g., WAAM3D and WAAMMat) would be also provided.

The student is expected to acquire the following (including but not limited to) knowledge and skills from research in this project.

  • Techniques, requirements, and applications of metal additive manufacturing.
  • Induction heating simulation and validation experiment with instrument for measuring temperature and other variables.
  • Finite element analysis method.
  • Reviewing literature, planning and managing research, writing technical report / paper, presenting in meetings/conferences, teamwork, etc.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an equivalent of first or second class UK honours degree in a related discipline or subject area (e.g., mechanical, manufacturing, and materials engineering). For international students, the English Language requirement set by Cranfield University should also be satisfied. This project would suit a candidate with genuine interest in modelling and manufacturing, as well as some understanding of electromagnetism and heat transfer. Previous experience with thermal process or additive manufacturing is also desirable. The candidate should be self-motivated, proactive, and good at communication and teamwork.


Self-funded PhD opportunity open to UK, EU and international students. The cost for running experiments and accessing to research facilities will be supported by the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship please complete the relevant application form below:

Online application form for PhD 

Online application form for MSc by Research

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD opportunity open to UK, EU and international students. The cost for running experiments and accessing to research facilities will be supported by the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre.

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