PhD in XCT based structural simulation for hybrid architecture carbon fibre composites


  ,  Monday, August 05, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Hybrid architecture composites have attracted growing interests in high-performance automotive and aerospace applications. This project aims to develop an image analysis tool for quantifying fibre orientation and fibre content distributions from XCT scans for hybrid architecture carbon fibre composites, and subsequently develop a novel material model linking the material’s meso-structure to mechanical properties to create structural simulation models.

Current challenges identified:

1. Despite commercial image analysis software, can map the fibre orientation distribution from XCT scans, they cannot distinguish different reinforcement phases in hybrid architecture composites

2. Existing structural analysis is mostly performed by assuming a homogeneous fibre orientation and fibre content distribution, where the influence of the manufacturing process is not considered. The discrepancy between the as-designed and as-manufactured geometries may induce non-negligible effects to the predicted quantities of interest.

3. Fewer studies have utilised process simulation to predict the fibre architecture, taken into account the influence of manufacturing induced fibre re-orientation and re-distribution. However, due to the lack of experimental method for quantifying fibre architecture in these materials, the predictive validity of current process simulation models is questionable.

4. Existing process simulation models only predict the fibre orientation tensors and fibre volume fraction. They do not consider the large deformation of fibre tows caused by high pressures applied in a high-rate compression moulding process, such as tow spreading/compaction, tow splitting and fibre waviness.


1. Develop an image segmentation algorithm to separate different reinforcement phases in a hybrid architecture composite

2. Develop a fibre analysis technique for quantifying fibre orientation and fibre content distributions from XCT scans. Introduce additional fibre architecture parameters such as in-plane tow extensional/compressive strains, fibre waviness, etc.

3. Determine the mechanical properties of composites as a function of each fibre architecture parameter (orientation, volume fraction, in-plane strains, waviness) experimentally through specifically designed tensile testing samples; and numerically through micro-/meso-scale models generated using the XCT scan data

4. Perform full-part structural analysis and validate the model against experimental structural testing.


Strong background in solid mechanics, good programming skills using Python or MATLAB


Knowledge in composites and composites manufacturing, experience in finite element analysis

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Available to eligible Home fee status and UK domicile EU students

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