Indentation of graded materials
Resistance to indentation is one of the important mechanical properties of a material. It is of significance to a wide variety of scientific and technological areas such as:
- the development of coatings for structural components to protect them from thermal damage and wear;
- the probing of the local physical and mechanical properties of materials by means of micro- and nano-indentation with the objective of developing micromechanical models for deformation;
- the estimation of the fracture properties of materials and their tolerance to damage;
- the penetration of potential armour materials by projectiles.
Increasingly, these applications involve advanced composite materials with properties that vary from one surface of the material to the other as a result of an intentionally introduced gradient in the composition of the material. Gradual variation of material properties is known to improve structural integrity and performance while preserving thermal, and/or structural benefits of constituent materials. The concept of graded material is actively explored in many engineering applications, such as functional materials for energy conversion, dental and orthopaedic implants, sensors and thermogenerators, to name but a few.
Despite the large number of diverse applications, few solutions to the problem of indentation of graded materials have been attempted; most of them were concerned with isotropic graded materials and had to use a two-dimensional formulation to overcome the complexity of the problem. For anisotropic materials with gradients in elastic properties, three-dimensional solution to the indentation problem does not yet exist.
The aim of the project is to develop a fundamental understanding of the indentation of anisotropic graded materials through mathematical modelling which will involve a combination of analytical and computational means.
The successful candidate should have, or expect to have an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in applied mathematics, solid mechanics, engineering or materials science. Knowledge of composite materials, solid mechanics and numerical modelling using Matlab and ABAQUS would be advantageous.
There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.
Formal applications can be completed online: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply. You should apply for PhD in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.
Informal inquiries can be made to Dr M Kashtalyan (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit (email@example.com).