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PhD in Novel Techniques for Shaping Metal

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J M Allwood
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Metal shaping in industry today is achieved largely by automated presses, but until a hundred years ago it was a rich, skilled and highly varied craft. In contrast to craft-workers, presses achieve tremendous throughput, but they are inflexible, the costs of dedicated tooling are high and they lead to great material waste. Half of all sheet metal purchased by car companies is cut off as scrap during manufacturing, largely following the deep-drawing process.

Our group, led by Professor Julian Allwood in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, is exploring how the flexibility and material efficiency of earlier craft processes could be used to invent new machines for industrial production with reduced waste. This is both creative and scientifically interesting, but also attracts commercial interest. For example, our flexible metal spinning process has been developed as a £1million industrial prototype and we are gathering industrial interest in a similar implementation of our new flexible ring rolling process.

We have recently invented a new process which we think could make a significant reduction in the material waste of deep-drawing. After two years development and the design and use of two new experimental rigs, we are currently building a new machine to demonstrate this process for real.

We are looking to recruit a new PhD student to join our group to explore and characterise the limits of this new process. The project will involve a combination of physical experiments, equipment modification, numerical simulation, and analytical description. The successful candidate should have a first class or equivalent degree in a relevant area of engineering from a leading university and ideally will have some work experience.

Funding Notes

The PhD is not associated with specific funding, so the applicant must be self-funded, eligible for the Department’s EPSRC DTA scheme, or have a suitable scholarship.


More information on our group can be found at and further information on the world’s largest research conference on shaping metal, which we hosted in September 2017, is at

How good is research at University of Cambridge in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 177.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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