Postgraduate research opportunities

Automated In-Process Inspection of Additively Manufactured Components Using Eddy Currents and Ultrasound Testing

This is an exciting 42-month fully-funded PhD, supported by EPSRC focusing on the robotic deployment of electromagnetic and acoustic sensors for inspection of additively manufactured (AM) components. The project aims at quality assurance of High-Value Manufacturing AM components.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Equipment costs, Travel costs, Stipend

Opens

11 January 2021

Deadline

31 August 2021

Duration

42 months

Eligibility

The applicant should meet the EPSRC student eligibility criteria:

  • Possess an Upper second (2.1) UK BEng Honours or MEng degree in relevant engineering (Electrical, Mechanical etc.) or physics-related subject
  • familiar with NDE techniques such as ultrasonic and eddy currents inspection
  • have some experience in C#, C++ and MATLAB coding
  • Be a UK or an eligible EU national and adhere to EPSRC eligibility criteria.

Candidates with a preference for practical industry-focused experimental research would also be desirable.

UKRI Studentship Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for UKRI funding has changed for studentships commencing in the 2021/22 academic year. Now, all home and international students are eligible to apply for UKRI funding which will cover the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). Under the new criteria, UKRI have stipulated a maximum percentage of international students that can be recruited each year against individual training grants. This will be managed at the institutional level for all EPSRC DTP and ICASE grants. For EPSRC CDT grants, this will be managed by the individual CDT administrative/management team. For ESRC and AHRC studentships the final funding decision will be made by the respective grant holder.

 

To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

 

The residency requirements are based on the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments. Normally to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education).

If a student does not meet the criteria above, they will be classed as an international student. The international portion of the tuition fee cannot be funded by the UKRI grant and must be covered from other sources. International students are permitted to self-fund the difference between the home and international fee rates.

Project Details

The Wire Additive Manufacturing (WAM) technology offers high deposition rates allowing to manufacture of large-scale near-net shape components within shorter lead-times. The components often serve in high sensitivity applications in aerospace and defense industries where the demands for quality and integrity standards are markedly high. Therefore, the WAM components should be examined by Non-Destructive Evaluations (NDE) techniques to qualify for certification. This project aims at robotic deployment and delivery of the NDE during the manufacturing process providing early intervention opportunities for repair and remediation of the components.

 

Ultrasound (UT) and eddy current testing (ECT) are both well-established NDE methods that are frequently used in the industry, and each offers unique opportunities for inspection of WAM components for potential deposition defects. This Ph.D. aims to investigate the possibility of using a robotically enabled combined NDE approach consisting of ECT and UT sensors for improved sensitivity to surface defects and strong capability of bulk coverage in a WAM inspection, respectively. However, forming a bi-sensor inspection unit and merging the sensors data for a better detectability requires overcoming some challenges such as sensors integration, robotic programming, and signal fusion and interpretation.

 

The project is relevant to the many industrial sectors transforming their production strategies to reduce costs by adopting AM technology for manufacturing of components – (Aerospace, Marine, Defence & general High-Value Manufacturing). It also has cross-cutting applicability to other arc-based welding processes which are routinely used and accepted by Nuclear and Oil & Gas industries.

 

The project will make extensive use of the £2.5 million cutting-edge Robotically-Enabled Sensing (RES) hub including several advanced industrial robots and NDE equipment at the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE) at the University of Strathclyde. The student will have access to RoboWAAM cell (the first commercial WAM deposition cell) at the manufacturing and research facilities of the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland and Lightweight Manufacturing Centre.

 

The student will work within an internationally renowned and growing team of diverse and multi-disciplinary researchers and engineers, physicists, and mathematicians and will have the opportunity to work on the inspection of one of the advanced and fast-growing 3D printing processes.

Funding Details

Funding is provided for full tuition fees (Home/EU applicants only), along with a very competitive stipend and significant equipment and travel funds for the duration of the project.

How to apply

Candidates requiring more information or interested in applying should email Dr. Ehsan Mohseni via ehsan.mohseni@strath.ac.uk

Thereafter, they should submit their CV, academic transcript, and a covering letter outlining their suitability for the position, to him.

Following the review of the application submissions, selected candidates will be invited for an interview. 

The application submission deadline is 31 August 2021.

The project will start on 1 October 2021.