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  PhD in Mechanical Engineering - UMBRELA: Understanding of Multiaxial Behaviour of Emerging Lightweight Alloys for sustainable mobility.

   School of Engineering

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  Dr Yuan Xu  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Award summary

100% home tuition fees covered and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £19,237 (2024/25 UKRI rate).  


Lightweight engineering materials offer a promising avenue for achieving carbon neutrality from the transport sector, with titanium alloys emerging as particularly attractive due to their exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to extreme conditions. However, existing material models are still far from capturing the complexity of real-world scenarios such as collision or impact, which involve multiaxial loading and elevated rates of deformation. This project aims to develop novel experimental techniques and advanced numerical models to address this gap, focusing on the multiaxial behaviour at varying strain rates. Through interdisciplinary approach, this project seeks to advance understanding of titanium alloys and promote the development of more efficient and sustainable transportation systems.

You will design innovative experimental techniques to reproduce impact loading events (e.g., collision, crash, shock) and develop novel material models accounting for stress triaxiality and rate dependency. You will be part of a diverse and multidisciplinary research community at the School of Engineering and access cutting-edge facilities at Newcastle University and collaborate with top research institutes/universities, developing expertise in mechanical characterisation and modelling of titanium alloys through a comprehensive pathway. The supervisory team, with significant technical expertise, experience and industry contacts, ensures a high quality and impactful PhD journey.

Number of awards


Start date

16th September 2024

Award duration

3.5 years (3 years of fees + 3.5 years of stipend)

Application closing date

15th May 2024


Tony Trapp Endowment Fund

Name of supervisors

Dr Yuan Xu, Professor Kenneth Dalgarno, Professor Brian Shaw

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in a subject relevant to the proposed PhD project, i.e., solid mechanics, mechanical/aerospace/civil engineering, metallurgy or material science. Enthusiasm for research, the ability to think and work independently and strong verbal and written communication skills are also essential requirements.

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.

This studentship is open to Home (UK) students only.  

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

·      Search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8090F

·      Research Area: Mechanical and Systems Engineering

·      Select PhD Mechanical Engineering (full time)' as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Details’ section:  

·      A ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  

·      The studentship code ENG140 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  

·      When prompted regarding your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal. 

Contact Details

Dr Yuan Xu ([Email Address Removed])

Engineering (12) Materials Science (24)

 About the Project