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NSIRC236 Development of online inspection and monitoring of WAAM

  • Full or part time
    Dr C Nageswaran
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a suite of processes that “join materials to make parts from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer”. AM is causing disruptive changes in manufacturing applications across the world, the advantages and benefits are becoming well understood. As metallic applications increase in size, wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) which uses arc welding equipment as the basis of an AM system is becoming of increasing interest. WAAM has theoretically unlimited build envelope, reasonable resolution, accuracy and deposition rates, and the ability to deposit a wide range of materials.
However, the solidification characteristics and the surface conditions of as-deposited material make it difficult to inspect the component during manufacture. Inspecting components after manufacture and final machining can be problematic, as the economic and timescale implications of rejection of a completed component could be significant.
This is one of three projects planned to work closely together to generate knowledge not only for their respective areas, but to the interconnectivity between them and their applicability to AM. The output of these projects will make a significant contribution to moving WAAM towards industrial acceptance.

Project Outline
It is felt that the future of WAAM will be as a digital process where the part and its properties requirements are processed through an integrated modelling, simulation and computer aided engineering (CAE) package and the manufacturing process in terms of feedstock chemistry, deposition path and deposition parameters is generated to take account of all the complexities of the physical process. This process will then be operated in the physical world and monitored online during build.
Strategies and methods for monitoring and inspecting WAAM during fabrication will be explored, with a focus on recently undertaken exploratory activities in TWI and publically available literature. A number of candidate processes will be shortlisted based on their ability to tolerate the temperature of the process, their ability to cope with the microstructure of the materials of interest and their ability to work on the as-deposited surfaces of WAAM. The candidate processes will be explored in an experimental work programme using specimens available on which typical process conditions will be simulated. The most suitable candidate will be selected for detailed development and performance evaluation. The most feasible inspection approach(es) will be developed and integrated with the WAAM system to monitor the process conditions and inspect flaw emergence during the process, i.e. online.

About Industrial Sponsor
The Lloyd’s Register Foundation funds the advancement of engineering-related education and research and supports work that enhances the safety of life at sea, on land and in the air, because life matters. Lloyd’s Register Foundation is partly funded by the profits of their trading arm Lloyd’s Register Group Limited, a global engineering, technical and business services organisation.

About Coventry University
Our research in Materials Engineering and Structural Integrity builds on our historical research strengths at Coventry and adds new research teams through investment and growth. We develop and apply advanced experimental methods and computational models to study the structural integrity problems, particularly in high-value, safety-critical industries such as aerospace and nuclear power, working with global partners in industry and national laboratories. Our key research themes include advanced modelling and experimentation, mechanics and measurement, non-destructive evaluation, residual stress measurement and stress engineering.

The National Structural Integrity Research Centre is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI. Working closely with top UK and International Universities and a number of leading industrial partners, NSIRC aims to deliver industry led and relevant cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners.
Candidate Requirements
Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in Mechanical, Electrical/Electronic or Civil/Structural Engineering or Physics. Candidates with experience in experimental research, numerical modelling and/or applied industrial research are particularly encouraged to apply. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 7.0) if applicable.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, TWI and Coventry University. The studentship will provide successful Home/EU students with a stipend of £16k/year and will cover the cost of tuition fees. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply, with total funding capped at £20k/year.

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