School of Engineering and Applied Science supported PhD Studentship (3 years)
Sustainable composite structures for manufacture
Applications are invited for a three year PhD studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the Sustainable Environment Research Group (http://www1.aston.ac.uk/eas/research/groups/serg/) at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on sustainable composites.
The position is available to start in 2012 (subject to negotiation)
This Subject Group studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate plus a maintenance allowance of £13,590. Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £9,668.
Background of the Project
Developments with the Aston University Shell Eco Marathon student car have identified an opportunity for further exploration into the design and construction of the vehicles main structure. The use of a lightweight composite structure made of a sustainable wood and paper suggests that this construction approach can be further developed for commercial application. The composite could then be developed to provide a more environmental alternative to common commercial materials and manufacturing processes.
The traditional barrier to such materials being scaled up to larger volume production is that of process. For example a bamboo bike takes time to construct by hand, not ideal for a high volume production. The challenge then is to explore and development the material in parallel to the manufacturing process, to offer a genuinely fast and cost effective environmental construction solution to design and manufacture.
The current Aston Shell car is using thin laser cut Birch plywood sandwich with a honeycomb paper insert, this is combined with water-based glue providing a lightweight and strong structure.
It is proposed the development of the materials and associated manufacturing process would be applied to the Aston Shell Eco Marathon car in the first instance. This would allow the material to be developed and tested in a working context, however the potential for other commercials product applications may be explored.
The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in product design or design engineering or an appropriate related discipline. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of practical materials experimentation, product design, prototyping and manufacturing knowledge.
For informal enquiries about this and other opportunities within the Sustainable Environment Research Group, contact Dr Christian Mclening by email: email@example.com
The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available at http://www1.aston.ac.uk/eas/research/prospective-research-students/how-to-apply/
Closing Date: October 2012 (or until the position is filled)
Associated to Aston expertise/research groups:
The Mechanical Engineering & Design Department have expertise in the areas of sustainable environment and materials and manufacturing. This expertise aligns well with the proposal of the development of a sustainable composite aligned to volume production.
The development of a commercially viable sustainable composite process developed for manufacturing volumes, a material and manufacturing process in combination.
The Aston University Shell Eco Marathon car would be used as the test bed for the material and process.
Other potential product outputs: furniture, commercial products, circuit boards,
Aston degree courses would benefit from the reputation of developments in such areas and the skills could be applied in classes such as CDIO.
Potential collaborative links between Aston University and industrial partners; Morgan, Westfield, Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Drayson racing team.
Collaboration with other Research groups:
Sustainable Environment Research Group
Polymer and Advanced Materials Research Group
Engineering Education Research Group
Potential links with external University research groups:
Warwick Manufacturing Group
Buckinghamshire New University – furniture manufacture
Hong Kong Polytechnic – manufacturing group
The PhD will be supervised by Dr Christian Mclening and Dr Mark Prince in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Design.