Fibre reinforced plastic composites (FRPs) are increasingly being adopted as a high-performance engineering material due to their exceptional specific strength, and fatigue and corrosion resistance in comparison with metallic alternatives. The commercial aerospace industry, in particular, is leading the way in the uptake of FRPs, as evidenced by the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350XWB both consisting of approximately 50% composites by weight. This utilisation percentage represents a significant increase on the airframes’ predecessors and is being driven by socio-economic pressures relating to CO₂ emissions and fuel efficiency.
Even though FRPs may be produced in near-net-shape form, they will inevitably require processing, including: cutting, drilling as well as joining. The advantages of laser processing (non-contact, precise, low heat-input, high-productivity process) have resulted in both the automotive and the aerospace industries adopting laser technology for processing of metallic materials. This project will seek to develop a fundamental understanding of laser processing of FRPs and, subsequently, apply this to develop industrially acceptable laser processes for FRPs.
A number of fully-funded PhD scholarships are available for suitable candidates with a strong interest in fundamental and applied research in the area of structural integrity.
Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in mechanical, Electrical/Electronics or Civil/Structural Engineering, Material Science, Metallurgy or Physics. Candidates with suitable work experience and strong capacity in numerical modelling and experimental skills are particularly welcome to apply. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 6.5) if applicable.
About NSIRC NSIRC will be a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with lead academic partner Brunel University, the universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Loughborough, Birmingham, Leicester and a number of leading industrial partners. NSIRC aims to deliver cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners.