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Simulation Modelling of Distortion and Shrinkage in Stereolithography 3D Printing.

Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Dr E Sabet Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project offers a chance to work on a truly disruptive and innovative research project in the high-tech and high-value manufacturing, with very high potential impact in aerospace and energy sectors. This project runs under a consortium between Loughborough University and a British innovative industrial partner, Photocentric Ltd.

Industrial partner of this project, Photocentric Ltd, is a patent holder in visible light curing technologies, specialising in photopolymerisation and inventors of LCD based 3D printing. Photocentric is an award-winning specialist 3D resin and LCD printer manufacturer based in Cambridgeshire, UK and Arizona, USA.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Project Information
Daylight curing or LCD-based digital light projection (DLP) method of stereolithography 3D printing offers a great printing resolution and surface roughness, often more superior than all other printing processes. Stereolithography (SAL) printing method involves one or combination of monomer resins which get activated and form cross-linked polymers under the presence of light and photo-initiators in a polymerisation process, and thus turn to solid parts during printing. Such polymerisation process often does not entirely complete in the printing process and requires a post-curing operation (under light or temperature) to complete.

In both printing and post-curing operations and due to the polymerisation mechanism, the printed structure shrinks and deform, which change the geometric and dimensional accuracy of the printed products. Shrinkages caused by phase transformation and polymerisation in the printing process happen at each layer of printing, resulting in distortions and residual stress in the printed product, which then cause extra deformation when the final product is detached from the printing platform and get tempered in post-curing ovens. Besides, during post-curing operation polymerisation process continue and causes volume shrinkage and deformation.

This research intends to design, develop and verify a simulation modelling process to anticipate such deformations and compensate/revers them on the CAD model to enable close-to-nominal geometry printing. Finite element method and Abaqus software package will be used for this modelling.

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All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering’.

Please quote reference number: UFES2019
Entry Requirements
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in material, chemical, or polymer science or mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, or relevant background with high credentials and simulation background/knowledge. Manufacturing experience and/or some understanding of the additive manufacturing process are desirable, but not essential. As part of the application process, candidates are required to write a research proposal.

Funding Notes

This project has some industrial clients who may be able to contribute to the cost of lab-based experiments/tests, but the applicant must be able to fund their study.
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