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Understanding the strengthening mechanisms in brittle materials with laser-plasma driven shock-waves and machine learning

   Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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  Dr Manuela Pacella, Dr Eve Zhang  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project details

This project focuses on strengthening difficult to process “brittle materials” (advanced ceramics and cermets), using a novel technique called laser shock strengthening.

Controlled laser-plasma driven shock-wave treatment will be applied to these materials to produce new strengthening mechanisms that will enhance the performance of industrial ceramic/cermet parts, in various sectors namely: aerospace, automotive, nuclear and bio-medical. These mechanisms will be examined using facilities at the Manufacturing Technology Centre and Loughborough University to investigate crystal structures, dislocation activity (atomic level), residual stress, microstructures and phase distribution. Experimental data will be analysed using machine learning, to unlock new material science that will shape future ceramic processing with the newly developed technique.

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please choose it from the drop-down below.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Candidates are expected to have a 2:1 (or above) MEng/BEng degree in Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing, Physics, Material Science or similar subjects.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

The studentship is sponsored by Loughborough University and the Manufacturing Technology Centre ( The studentship is for 3.5 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £24,718 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is only open to UK students.

Funding Notes

UK fee - Fully funded full-time degree per annum
International fee - Not applicable full-time degree per annum
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