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Personalised and green: a sustainable approach for a new generation of structural composites in biomedical applications

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

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  Dr Fulvio Pinto  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Bath United Kingdom Biomedical Engineering Civil Engineering Environmental Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Medical Physics Physiology

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in January 2022.

Funding is available to candidates who qualify for ‘Home’ fee status. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the rules governing fee status have changed and, therefore, candidates from the EU/EEA are advised to check their eligibility before applying. Please see the Funding Eligibility section below for more information.

Project team: Dr Fulvio Pinto, Dr Dario Cazzola & Dr Dave Bruce (External Supervisor – Southmead Hospital Bristol - NHS)

Informal queries should be directed to: Dr Fulvio Pinto - [Email Address Removed]

This project is focused on exploring the potentiality of Natural Fibres Composites (NFCs) for biomedical applications, and integrate material testing and biomechanical modelling methods to create the first personalised ‘green’ orthotic device.

Orthosis have the principal function of providing support for a defective limb or for the spine of a patient by preventing and/or assisting some of their movement. Current composite solutions offer low level of personalisation with traditional materials being often too brittle and characterised by a dangerously high environmental impact and the lack of a proper recycling strategy. Natural Fibres represent a green solution to overcome these limitations, as they can be used to develop Natural Fibres Composites that can match the performance of traditional synthetic materials without the negative effect on the environment.

This project aims at designing, creating, and testing the first personalised and ‘green’ orthosis using NFCs. The design of the green reinforcement phase will be tailored on the specific needs of the user via biomechanical modelling, which allows to inform the composite geometry and lead to a more efficient and personalised orthosis.

During the PhD the successful candidate will engage with experimental and computational work supervised by academics from the Mechanical Engineering and Health Departments. The student will develop biomechanical models to evaluate load distribution on human limbs and designing, manufacturing, and testing new composite solutions. Furthermore, the structural performance of the device will be optimised also minimising the environmental impact. Given the intrinsic interdisciplinarity of the project, the successful candidate will work in a friendly and multi-disciplinary environment that will allow a unique 360 degrees view of the biomedical natural composites context, collaborating with farmers that grow natural fibres in UK and Europe, material scientists that investigate the structure of lignocellulosic fibres, structural engineers that develop and characterise composite structures, and physiologists that study human locomotion.

Candidate Requirements:

The successful applicant will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree or MSc distinction (or overseas equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, or Science (Chemistry/Physics). Essential Background: Material Science and Structural Engineering with some understanding of chemistry and composite materials’ principles, and human biomechanics (or robotics).


Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

Mechanical Engineering

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Expected start date: 17 January 2022


Funding Eligibility:

In order to be considered for a studentship, you must qualify as a ‘Home’ student. The UK Government has not yet published the relevant Fee Regulations for courses commencing in 2021/22; however, our current understanding is that the main categories of students likely to qualify for ‘Home’ fees are (subject to confirmation by the UK Government):

·        UK nationals (meeting residency requirement*)

·        Irish nationals resident in the UK/Ireland since at least September 2018

·        EU/EEA applicants with settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (meeting residency requirement*)

·        Applicants with indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK (meeting residency requirement*)

*Residency requirement: in most cases applicants must have lived in the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland continuously since September 2018.

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for ‘Home’ fees and funding.

Up-to-date information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage and on the UKCISA website

Funding Notes

A studentship includes ‘Home’ tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3.5 years.
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