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4 year Engineering Doctorate (EngD): Disruptive Machining Methods for Large Aerospace Wing Structures (Sponsors: University of Sheffield AMRC, EPSRC and GKN Aerospace)


Project Description

Start Date: 4 September 2017
Stipend: Tax free stipend of £18,000 per year, plus all tuition fees paid at UK/EU rates.

Project details
Over the next 10 years, major aerospace OEMs are expected to dramatically increase production rates for current short-range aircraft, and develop new airframes including a mid-range platform and at least two new short range aircraft. Current production methods for large metal wing structures do not offer the cost, production rate and quality performance that will be required from future platforms.

The candidate will become part of the GKN Technology Centre in Bristol, conducting research locally, at the AMRC, and will have the opportunity to visit other global sites as required to support technical and personal development.

The main thrust of the work will be around large machined wing structures. Initially the candidate will work with GKN colleagues and customers to understand requirements of the future aircraft in terms of component geometry, tolerance requirements, cost targets, etc. The candidate will then define experimental studies that will explore the most effective way to process these new components. The candidate will lead processing trials from small scale up to full-scale wing components. Development work will be progressed and evaluated in accordance with GKN’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) process, and the candidate will have the opportunity to present their work across the business to colleagues and senior management.

The candidate has the enviable opportunity to consider how to manufacture a part without any existing constraints on equipment. This will give the candidate the greatest opportunity and flexibility to address two significant research streams:

A major focus will be in understanding the origin of part distortion in the target product(s) and developing methods on how this could be minimised/mitigated.

A second major focus will be in understanding how a step change in material removal rates can be achieved. This will be through the development of advanced material removal methods for the target product(s).

In support of these major research streams:

- The candidate will consider whether conventional 5-axis ‘machining in a box’ processes are the most effective, or whether other more radical machine architectures are the future. This will involve the candidate understanding processing dynamics and other considerations such as the influence of fixturing/part handling methods.
- The candidate will need to understand a range of material-in conditions from conventional billets to additively manufactured net-shapes. This will involve developing knowledge of material properties and microstructure for the respective material stocks, and their interaction with the chosen material removal methods.
- The candidate will develop understanding in the art of process control, with potential to consider adaptive processes.

About GKN Aerospace
The UK Aerospace industry is the second largest in the world, second only to the US. GKN is a FTSE 100 business and one of the most important contributors to manufacturing in the UK, and thus the economy. If you’ve flown in a commercial aircraft, it’s almost certainly got GKN parts, assemblies or systems keeping it in the air. As the most comprehensive aerostructures Tier 1 supplier (worldwide), GKN has a diverse range of technical capability across the globe. The EngD candidate will become part of this global community and contribute to GKN’s vision to grow and maintain world-beating manufacturing processes for future aircraft.

About the AMRC with Boeing
The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing is a world-class centre for advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. The AMRC with Boeing is a multi-million pound industry/university partnership which builds on the shared scientific excellence and technological innovation. It has internationally acknowledged research in developing innovative and advanced technology solutions for materials-forming and metalworking and is housed in the Factory of the Future, a BREEAM-rated building with a zero carbon footprint. The AMRC with Boeing now employs around 500 highly qualified researchers and engineers from around the globe, in two purpose-built centres on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire.

For general enquiries about the IDC, our 4-year structured EngD, eligibility etc please contact the Centre Team

How to apply for this EngD Studentship
All applications should be submitted online. Please include a supporting statement and ensure that you specify which project you are applying for. Your supporting statement should include why you are interested in the project theme, and why you are a good candidate for the project.

Funding Notes

Due to EPSRC residency requirements, this project is open only to UK/EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of the course.

Candidates must also be able show that their English language proficiency is at a level which allows them to successfully complete the PhD. All applicants require an English language qualification, typically a GCSE or an IELTS test (a score of 7 or above is required, with a minimum of 6 in each component).

If in doubt about any aspect of Eligibility, please contact the Centre Team .

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Mechanical engineering and Advanced manufacturing

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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