PhD Studentship: Design of strong and 3D printable aluminium alloy

Department of Mechanical Engineering

UCL, Gower Street, London, UK


  • Posted on: 13th Dec 2021
  • Funding amount: Funding Available
  • Funding for: EU Students, International Students, UK Students
  • REF: 1881513
  • Closes: 29th April 2022
  • Hours: Full Time

Vacancy Information

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is funding a 4-year PhD Studentship: Design of strong and 3D printable aluminium alloy.

Studentship Description

Transport accounts for 25% of global CO2 emissions and faces huge pressure to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Additive Manufacturing -or 3D printing- of strong and light aluminium components for automotive and aerospace offers a sustainable solution by enabling the bespoke design of complex components using less material – therefore requiring less fuel. However, existing high-strength alloys are not suitable for additive manufacturing due to their high degree of heterogeneities during building and resulting poor mechanical performance. Therefore, new material concepts are necessary to design strong and 3-D printable aluminium alloys for realistic commercial deployment.

This project will offer an exciting opportunity to design novel alloys for additive manufacturing combining cutting-edge computational and experimental methods. The research will initially revolve around developing Phase-Field and Thermodynamic models to study how material heterogeneities form during rapid-solidification; this understanding will be applied to later design compositions and processing conditions for improved performance, via reducing heterogeneities. Microstructural heterogeneities shall include elemental segregation, undesired secondary phases and hot cracking. The phase-field method is a compelling computational approach for predicting non-equilibrium phase transformation phenomena at a microstructural level. We are particularly interested in studying a new class of strong eutectic Al alloys and the project will require developing original phase field models for eutectic solidification.

Having computationally developed novel alloys, these will be tested using a unique quad-laser additive

manufacturing rig which has correlative ultra-fast x-ray, infra-red and optical imaging capability. The experiments will be carried out at Synchrotron Light Sources worldwide (e.g., ESRF France, APS Chicago), providing data to both perform fundamental and practical validation of the models. We offer a unique opportunity to collaborate with a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers using state-of-the-art techniques on material characterisation and computational modelling. The successful candidate will be encouraged to attend international conferences and publish high-quality papers to disseminate the outcomes of the project. The work will likely involve interacting with new and ongoing industrial partners to exploit the outcomes of the research.

Person Specification

Applicants should have (or expected to be awarded) an upper second- or first-class UK honours degree at the level of MEng, MSci (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant engineering or science subject, including materials science, engineering, physics, chemistry, applied mathematics or related disciplines.


This funding is available to UK, EU, and overseas students.

Eligible applicants should first contact Dr Enrique Galindo-Nava or Prof Peter Lee, (; quoting the job reference.

Please enclose a cover letter (including the names and contact details of two referees), one-page research statement and two pages CV.

The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After the interview, the successful candidate will be required to formally apply online via the UCL (University College London) website.

Contact name

Enrique Galindo-Nava & Professor Peter Lee

Contact details;

UCL Taking Action for Equality

Closing Date

29 Apr 2022

Latest time for the submission of applications


Interview date


Studentship Start Date

26th September 2022

Employer Achievements:

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