PhD Studentship – Low-impact electric motors

Department of Engineering, Cambridge

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK

Overview

  • Posted on: 14th Dec 2021
  • Funding amount: Funding Available
  • Funding for: EU Students, International Students, UK Students
  • REF: NM29456
  • Closes: 07th March 2022
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time

We are looking for a new PhD student to do excellent research on the specification, design and manufacture of new, low-impact electric motors. The materials required by existing electric motors create two major environmental problems: permanent magnets are difficult to produce and difficult to recycle; the copper-windings of conventional motors are difficult to separate from other materials at end-of-life, particular for cars, leading to a significant loss of quality in steel-recycling.

The sponsor of this PhD, Advanced Electrical Machines, is developing new designs for electric motors, based on aluminium windings, without permanent magnets or copper. They are targeting the rapidly expanding global market for electric car motors. They are funding this PhD in order to explore every aspect of the environmental impact of production of their new motors, while also considering the challenges of its production. In particular, the project will involve:

  • A top-down analysis of the material demands of the new motors. Assuming rapid penetration of the global car market, and across the whole life-cycle of car production, use and disposal, how will the new design influence existing material markets, and where are the “hot-spots” of environmental impact with the new design. How do these impacts compare with the permanent-magnet motors of the past?
  • What interventions in design or production would have a significant impact on the total impacts of the new motors?
  • Within the production of the new motors, a specific challenge is the joining of aluminium and coated electrical steel sheets. What processing options could enable suitable joins, how efficient are they, and how could they be developed for maximum productivity and minimum impact?

The PhD promises the potential for substantial environmental benefit, involvement in a rapidly growing new business venture, and engagement in high-profile OEMs in the automotive industry with an immediate commercial interest in project results.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) an excellent first degree from a leading university with interests in material production and processing and its environmental impacts. Our ideal candidate will have practical experience of production processes, training in environmental analysis, a systems-thinking approach to problem specification and understanding, and the competence to design and exploit physical experiments.

The funding is only available for UK and EU students who are eligible for home fees.

To apply for this studentship, please send your two-page CV and covering letter to allwood-office@eng.cam.ac.uk to arrive no later than 7 March 2022.

The covering letter should explain why you would like to apply and why you think you are a good fit to the project.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University’s Postgraduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £75 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egegpdpeg.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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