Postgraduate research opportunities

Development hot edge detection system for live evaluation of shape of large forged components

Working with the AFRC's Tier 1 members forging can create components that are stronger than those manufactured by any other metalworking processes. The manufacturing of high-integrity parts for critical applications brings important challenges and one of the main aims of this industry doctorate is to bridge this gap.

Number of places



Stipend, Home fee


9 August 2019


30 December 2019


4 years


Applications are welcome from all who possess or are about to obtain a first class or 2.1 BEng (Hons), MEng or MSc degree, or equivalent EU/International qualification, in a relevant discipline.

Applications from Home, Rest of UK and EU students will receive funding of the home fee and stipend.

International Students are welcome to apply but should be aware of the additional funding requirements and will have to provide evidence that they can pay the difference in fees of circa £16k per annum.

Find out more about this exciting PhD opportunity by clicking through the tabs above.

Individuals interested in this project should email Dr Dorothy Evans at, and attach your most up-to-date cv.

Project Details

Are you looking to gain direct industrial experience whilst developing your specialist research area of interest?

The AFRC Tier 1 industrial partners supporting this project are Boeing, Rolls Royce, Timet, Aubert & Duval, Bifrangi, Baker Hughes GE and Spirit Aerospace. They represent a variety of industries and specialisms across relevant sectors for UK and Scotland (aerospace, oil & gas, automotive, energy).

Forging can create components that are stronger than those manufactured by any other metalworking processes. These components are used in applications where reliability and safety are critical. However, the manufacturing of high-integrity parts for critical applications brings important challenges. Currently, the research activities/tests, developed at lab scale are not representative of industrial processes. This introduces important challenges to companies for the development and adoption of new components/materials/processes.

One of the main aims of this industry doctorate is to bridge this gap, in good alignment with the AFRC FutureForge programme (£16.5 million project), bringing the largest piece of equipment (2000T hydraulic press) and state of the art forging facility to Scotland. This programme will bring unique capabilities to AFRC, allowing to conduct forging trials and manufacturing of prototypes at representative industrial scale.

This doctorate is aligned to FutureForge programme, aimed at providing 3D surface evaluation during live running of the forge. This will provide the AFRC  Tier 1 members and Scottish companies with key forging data and allow them to fully exploit this advanced manufacturing platform:

  • Engage with Scottish manufacturing supply chain and key end-users and sectors (Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Marine, Nuclear, Energy, Automotive);
  • Enhance the competitiveness of Tier 1 members and Scottish companies by involving them in the creation of the necessary system elements that will provide real time data for large scale forging operations.


Accelerate the development of new Digital Industry 4 capabilities in Forging and increase the competitiveness of Scottish industry.

Funding Details

This fully-funded industrial PhD opportunity will cover Home and EU Fees and Stipend.

We will accept applications from international students who can confirm in their email application that they are able to pay the difference between the Home and International fees (approximately £16,000 per annum). If you are unable to cover this cost the application will be rejected.



The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) is a globally-recognised centre of excellence in innovative manufacturing technologies, engineering research and development, and metal forming and forging research.

For a decade the centre has been at the heart of manufacturing research in Scotland. It is the only High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre in the country, one of only 7 in the UK making it the critical link between manufacturers in Scotland and the rest of this world-class network of manufacturing innovation and expertise.

The AFRC helps to fill the gap between fundamental academic research and industry. We help companies to turn innovative technologies and ideas into a commercial reality that will increase their competitiveness, boost their business and secure the manufacturing sector in Scotland and the UK for generations to come.

We offer world-class expertise and cutting-edge technologies that help firms develop solutions that bring about real business benefits for companies of all sizes from across the UK and internationally.

Capabilities include:

  • High integrity forging and thermal processing
  • Materials evolution, component resilience, and residual stress
  • Near net shape design and make
  • Sheet processing technology
  • Digitalisation, technology planning of process and supply chains

Further information

Forging processes present clear benefits in terms of structural reliability, reduced chemical segregation and higher efficiency in direct comparison with other manufacturing processes. Forged components make possible designs that accommodate the highest loads and stresses (high-integrity components). Hot forging is usually performed as a multi-stage process and therefore optimisation of the forging sequence and design of preform shapes is crucial for obtaining high-quality forgings in a competitive cost.


The manufacturing of high-integrity parts for critical applications brings important challenges. These type of components should be manufactured within a very tightly controlled strain, strain-rate and temperature window for each specific material. Process & microstructural modelling should be combined with accurate data of the deformation process and actual deformation rates from the forging process. Currently such specific data is not available from the forging process because of the difficulty of obtaining the data.


Currently, there is big gap between the research activities developed in research centres/universities (low TRL levels), conducting small trials at lab scale and industrial manufacturing processes for manufacturing of real components. A significant disparity in results associated with the scale-effect is found too often. Live deformation data for large scale forging operations bridge this gap. This is in good alignment with the AFRC FutureForge and CORE research programmes:

  • FutureForge is a highly ambitious programme for AFRC (£16.5 million project), bringing a 2000T hydraulic press and ancillary equipment to the AFRC. Funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Scottish Enterprise and the centre itself using HVM Catapult funding. The FutureForge programme will bring new capacities to AFRC in terms of open die, closed-die and isothermal forging, allowing the centre to conduct forging trials at representative industrial scale;
  • Previous CORE research programmes have highlighted the potential Digital contributions in this area of Forging. The Research proposed in this proposal builds on  this strategic collaboration activities of the  Tier 1 industrial partners Boeing, Rolls Royce, Timet, Aubert & Duval, Bifrangi, Baker Hughes GE and Spirit Aerospace. The companies represent a variety of industries across relevant sectors for Scotland (aerospace, oil & gas, automotive, energy).


The aims of this project align to the Scottish Government’s goal of Inspiring and attracting a diverse talent pool to work in manufacturing, equipping existing and future employees with the skills, both technical and practical, to prosper in an increasingly digital and automated manufacturing environment. It will also catalyse job creation and strengthen supply chain linkages in the Digital economy with Forging   and increase the relative manufacturing contribution to Scotland's overall economy.


This doctorate will clearly represent an exciting close industry-academic collaboration for the development of manufacturing processes of high-integrity components. This proposal is strongly supported by the AFRC Tier 1 industrial partners, showing its strong commitment and involvement.


The research activities of this industrial doctorate will be carried out at Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC):

  • AFRC is part of the University of Strathclyde and is a globally recognised centre of excellence in innovative manufacturing technologies, R&D, and metal forming and forging research. AFRC is at the heart of Scotland’s manufacturing research and development sector and are the country’s only High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre; one of only seven in the UK.
  • The AFRC focuses on developing forming and forging technologies to support the development of high integrity components for aerospace, automotive, oil and gas and medical sectors. AFRC is home to state of the art forging and forming equipment and excellence in forging process control.


The expected outcomes are as follows:

  • Accelerate the exploitation of a state of the art imaging equipment coupled with advances in image analysis and digital processing to provide 3D information for the forging process;
  • Develop a holistic manufacturing process understanding, bringing details of large scale forging processes together with material behaviour – process/preform design - process & microstructural modelling.
  • Failure Mode Effect Analysis and Development of Control strategies for forging processes matched to complex/multi-step manufacturing processes
  • Develop strong understanding and methodologies for the manufacturing of high-integrity parts for critical applications/key sectors for the Scottish industry/economy;
  • To establish stronger and long-term strategic collaborative relationships / activities between AFRC and industrial partners.


As a high value-adding category of manufacturing, hot forging as part of metal forming is increasingly important to the core competency across a number of key sectors (aerospace, Oil & Gas, Energy, Automotive). The benefits of this doctorate are therefore, strongly aligned with Scotland’s strategic priorities of manufacturing, innovation and international competitiveness.

Contact us

How to apply

If you are interested in this brilliant opportunity and wish to apply, please send your CV along in for the attention of Dr Dorothy Evans to