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PhD with Airbus in the Influence of Combined Oxidation and Fatigue on the Endurance of Titanium Alloys.

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  • Full or part time
    Prof P Prangnell
    Dr J Fonseca
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project is a joined initiative between Airbus and The University of Manchester.

Project description High performance titanium alloys are being increasingly used in advanced airframes where elevated temperatures are experienced (e.g. in close proximity to engines). While oxidation resistant at low temperatures, at temperatures above 350°C titanium alloys are prone to degradation from oxidation and diffusion of oxygen into their surfaces, which in extreme cases can change the subsurface microstructure and cause embrittlement. The interactions between oxidation, dissolved oxygen, and fatigue crack initiation and propagation, are currently poorly understood, which makes predicting the endurance of components in-service difficult. With titanium airframe alloys it is therefore important to obtain a clearer in-depth understanding of the synergistic interactions between elevated temperature fatigue and an oxidising environment.

This project will use fatigue tests under controlled conditions to study the effects of oxidation on fatigue life, from the initiation of short cracks to the growth rate of long cracks. This will involve studying the effects of dynamic deformation on oxygen diffusion and the crack tip damage behaviour, as a function of temperature, dwell time and the atmosphere. This will also involve advanced microscopy methods, 3D imaging by x-ray tomography, and micromechanical analysis to study the oxidation-crack interactions at a high resolution, with the ultimate goal being able to more reliably predict component life. The project will contribute to research aimed at supporting the more mass-efficient design of advanced airframe components and will be supervised through the Advanced Metallic Research Programme (AMRP) within Airbus Airframe R&T.

The student will have the opportunity to spend time with Airbus technical experts, to gain an understanding of their commercial operation, and is also part of LightForm (, a collaboration between the universities of Manchester, Cambridge, and Imperial College London, enabling close interaction with researchers from other universities. It will also link to the Airbus Centre of Metallurgical Excellence, a joint initiative between Airbus and The University of Manchester, comprised of ~ 20 researchers, for which. Airbus hold an annual student conference, to facilitate networking amongst their PhD students across Europe. Long crack testing will be carried out at Southampton University using specialised atmosphere controlled equipment, in collaboration with Professor Philippa Reed. For more information please contact Dr Phil Prangnell ([Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

Fully funded project - Current UKRI stipend plus a top-up of £2,500p.a. in year 1, and £3,500p.a. in Years 2, 3, and 4, for UK and eligible EU students.

Industry collaboration project with Airbus.

Candidates should have a strong degree (2.1 or equivalent) in a STEM subject.

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?
Metallurgy and Materials

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.00

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

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