Monitoring the integrity and health of engineering structures is a vital procedure for ensuring and improving the safety and maintainability. In most cases non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques are preferred to perform periodic evaluation and characterisation of integrity/damages of critical civil structures such as buildings and bridges and energy structures such as wind turbines and pipes.
This project will focus on the development of ultrasonic guided wave transducers (UGWs) for operation at high temperatures (300° – 600° C) for detecting/monitoring structural defects in super-heated steam pipes. UGWs use lower frequencies (kHz range) and covers larger distances (metre-range) compared to conventional ultrasonic testing (UT) which operates at higher frequencies (MHz range) and suffers of short distance coverage (only centimetre-range).
The student will design, manufacture and test UGW probes in which the ultrasonic transducer can withstand temperatures up to 1000° C. The first phase of the project will be dedicated to the preparation and characterisation of the piezoelectric material in parallel to the modelling of the devices. In the second phase, in light of the results achieved in the first phase, the student will design and manufacture the sensors which will be tested electrically with some initial characterisation at high temperature. If the manufactured sensors show positive result during the initial testing then the project will proceed into the third phase in which the devices will be assembled and packaged and further UGW testing will be carried out on a waveguide at both ambient and high temperature to investigate for long term reliability.
The design and manufacturing activities will be performed in the excellent facilities available at the Scottish Microelectronics Centre (academic supervisor’s department) and characterisation of the sensors will be performed at TWI (where testing equipment and set up is already in place for UGWs measurement
This project is funded by TWI and academic partners. The scholarship will cover the cost of tuition fees and an enhanced stipend.
Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in Mechanical, Electrical Engineering . Candidates with suitable work experience in Finite Element Analysis of mechanical structures and good knowledge of transduction techniques and electro-mechanical sensors. Experience in mico-fabrication and manufacturing technologies would be advantageous.
Non-UK applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 6.5) if applicable.
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.
For more information about The National Structural Integrity Research Centre, visit www.nsirc.co.uk
Please direct general enquiries to: [email protected]