This PhD studentship is funded by EPSRC DTP and Polestar. The project will prove the hypothesis with practical demonstrators that it is possible to integrate electrodes and electrolyte into a structural carbon composite to manufacture a multifunctional material, with an energy density comparable to that of conventional lithium-ion batteries. The project will combine advanced multiphysics modelling and micromechanical testing to deliver an optimisation tool for the design of electrodes.
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have the highest volumetric (350 Wh/L) and specific energy density (180 Wh/kg). Despite the multiple advantages of LIBs compared to other type of batteries, they have issues due to:
- The weight penalty in Electric Vehicles (battery pack takes 30% of the total weight).
- The use of liquid electrolyte and the risk of leaking.
- The need to dissipate the heat produced by the electrochemical reactions that can cause thermal runaway leading to explosions.
An alternative that negates these issues and offers comparable/improved power and maintenance needs are multi-functional material batteries. These are materials that can be engineered to have high stiffness and strength and are also able to store energy.
The objectives of this project are:
- Consolidate the understanding of solid-state electrolyte and manufacturing of structural batteries.
- Validate a multiphysics model of the deposition process.
- Validate representative volume elements to describe fibres and polymer interactions.
- Electrical and Mechanical numerical models of the structural battery.
- Manufacture and validate a structural battery demonstrator.
The student will be part of the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing (SATM). SATM is a leading provider of postgraduate level engineering education, research and technology support to individuals and organisations. At the forefront of aerospace, manufacturing and transport systems technology and management for over 70 years, we deliver multi-disciplinary solutions to the complex challenges facing industry.
AVEC delivers research across a range of specialist areas associated with vehicle engineering to a wide range of industrial sectors from automotive manufacturers to space vehicle research teams, but always with a strong focus on improving vehicle performance and/or reducing the environmental impact and energy consumption of a vehicles manufacture and use.
Polestar, a design-focused electric performance car brand, harnessing refined performance and cutting-edge technology. will host the student for a total period of three months. At the start of the project the student will also visit the company and attend a seminar at the industrial partner to be made aware of the technologies currently adopted in design and manufacturing of vehicles and batteries.
This project will provide the necessary tools to perform a reliable and robust design of electrodes in structural batteries.
The student will have the opportunity to attend internal training at Cranfield University as well as external opportunity as well as present the results of the project to conferences.
Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit candidate with strong background in structures, materials and composites and experience in material testing, numerical simulation and damage mechanics in composites would be a desirable.
About the sponsor
Sponsored by EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership and Polestar, this studentship will provide a bursary of £18,000 (tax free) plus fees for three years.
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 online application form on our website.