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PhD Engineering - In-orbit fabrication of large space structures using novel manufacturing technologies

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  • Full or part time
    Prof C McInnes
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The James Watt School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow is seeking a highly motivated graduate to undertake a 3.5-year PhD project entitled: In-orbit fabrication of large space structures using novel manufacturing technologies.

This exciting new project will investigate a range of strategies for in-orbit fabrication, include the use of directed energy deposition methods. Such methods will enable the manufacture of metal-based structures in orbit from powder feedstock. However, there are a range of challenges to be overcome, including handling of feedstock in orbit and thermal control. The project will address such issues through design, simulation and laboratory-based experiment. Novel structures which could be fabricated using these methods will be considred and applications sought, including antennae and optical reflectors.

As a new development, the use of feedstock from a metal-rich meteorite sample will be investigated to demonstrate the fabrication of thin reflective films from asteroid material. It is expected that samples will be fabricated and their optical and mechanical properties characterized to understand the scaling of such methods towards large-scale in-orbit fabrication.

The project will involved modelling and simulation and laboratory-based technology development and demonstration. The successful candidate will join a team of researchers working on a range of emerging space technologies, as part of the Space and Exploration Technology Group (SET):

The group’s facilities include the Integrated Space and Exploration Technologies Laboratory (I-SET) which hosts an air bearing and Helmholtz cage, vacuum chamber, clean room area and 3D printing facilities.

Applications for this scholarship should be made by using the online system through the following link:

Please note that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme, and an offer of admission may be issued before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

Candidates should have or expect to obtain a first class or 2.1 equivalent degree in a relevant discipline and display imagination and creative thinking to devise, develop and demonstrate exciting new space technologies. Prior experience of space technology while desirable is not essential. Candidates should be self-motivated, driven and be strong team players.

The main academic supervisor for the project will be Professor Colin McInnes [[Email Address Removed]] who can be contacted for informal enquiries.

Funding Notes

The studentship is supported by funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering and will cover Home tuition fees and provide a stipend for Home UK and EU applicants at the UKRI rate from 1 October 2020 for 3.5 years (estimated £15,285 for session 2020/2021).

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