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Modelling the microstructure evolution during hot working of Ti alloys

  • Full or part time

    Dr J Fonseca
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 31, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The CDT in Advanced Metallics is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester and the I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Centre, Dublin. CDT students undertake the CDT training programme at all three locations throughout the 4-year programme.

Given their unrivalled strength-to-weight ratio, titanium (Ti) alloys are indispensable to the aerospace industry. They are used extensively in the modern aircraft, with applications ranging from frame structures to jet engine components. However, Ti alloys are very complex, containing hierarchical microstructures which change dramatically during the processing and manufacturing of components. This complexity makes their behaviour difficult to predict and forces manufacturers to rely heavily on processing routes that have been developed through trial and error. As a result, compared to more mature steel and aluminium alloys, Ti metallurgy is still in its nascent stages of development.

This PhD project is part of a larger research effort in LightForm (lightform.org.uk) that aims to develop new models to predict how the microstructure evolves in these important alloys during processing at high temperatures. This larger project brings together end users of Ti alloys, like Airbus and Rolls-Royce, with material producers and manufactures like TIMET and Aubert & Duval, towards the common goal of developing new predictive tools to guide and accelerate process and alloy development.

During your PhD, you will use computational modelling to study the microstructure evolution of dual phase Ti alloys during warm deformation. You will start by using full-field crystal plasticity modelling to understand the mechanical interactions between crystals and phases. Later, this will be combined with phase-field modelling to include chemical and diffusional effects like grain boundary movement. This work will be performed using the DAMASK simulation suite (damask.mpie.de), and you will have the opportunity to contribute to its development. You will work closely with other PhD students and senior researchers, using their data to help develop new models and obtain materials parameters. You will also have access to high-performance computing facilities at the University of Manchester and national facilities.


The chosen scale of the model will allow for direct comparison with experiment. It will also be able to draw on results from atomistic modelling and be directly compared to larger scale continuum models of oxidation. The student will work alongside an experimental PhD student and build on previous work in the Zirconium team at Manchester. There will be opportunities to spend time at Rolls-Royce, as well as to gain an understanding of their commercial operation.

Funding Notes

Current UKRI stipend plus a top-up of £2,500p.a. in year 1, and £3,500p.a. in Years 2, 3, and 4, for UK and eligible EU students.

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