University of Cambridge PhD/MPhil in Friction Joining for Low Energy Transport Applications

Vacancy Reference No: NA06599
Principal Investigator: Dr H R Shercliff

Project Details:
The transport industry continuously seeks design and manufacturing solutions that enable lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This includes hybrid structures involving different material classes (steel, titanium, aluminium and magnesium) and different material forms (rolled sheet, castings, and laminates). This project will focus on novel friction joining technologies for dissimilar material systems (friction stir, friction stir spot, and ultrasonic welding). It is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, EPSRC, and is in collaboration with Manchester University Materials Science Centre.

The research in Cambridge will focus on development of process models for metal flow and heat flow in friction processing, using finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics. Key challenges are:

  • to develop and model a simple test rig to determine the material deformation response at the high temperatures and strain-rates characteristic of friction stir processing;
  • to develop computationally efficient process models to optimise tool designs and welding conditions in dissimilar alloy joints;
  • to develop a new process model for ultrasonic spot welding.

The Manchester group will be responsible for making the instrumented test welds on their in-house friction stir and ultrasonic welding machines, and for the detailed characterisation and modelling of microstructure evolution and interface reactions. Both groups will undertake mechanical testing of a range of joint geometries and material combinations.

The project will involve close collaboration with a current PhD student in Cambridge, and frequent visits to the project partners in the University of Manchester.

Background Required:

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 degree in Engineering, Manufacturing or Engineering Materials. Some previous experience of numerical modelling would be preferred.

Funding Source:

Standard EPSRC studentship (PhD or MPhil) including tuition fees for UK/EU students only (current tax-free maintenance stipend: £13,290 per year). Fully self-funded applicants of appropriate academic standing from outside the EU may be considered.

Start Date: 1 October 2010 or 1 January 2011

Application Deadline: 30 June (for October start) or 31 October (for January start).

For further information and to apply, send a CV to: Dr H R Shercliff, Cambridge University, Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ, UK, Phone: +44 (0)1223 332627, Fax: +44 (0)1223 332662, email:

  • PhD – 3 years MPhil – 1 Year

Closing date: 31 October 2010.



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