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Materials for 3D Printing Using Drones – PhD Opportunity

This exciting PhD studentship will develop materials specifically for 3D printing civil engineering structures using autonomous drones.  Based at the University of Bath the candidate will form part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Imperial College London and University College London contributing to the objectives of the EPSRC Autonomous manufacturing grant Aerial Additive Building Manufacturing: Distributed Unmanned Aerial Systems for in-situ manufacturing of the built environment’ 

The lab based project will require an adaptable candidate who can develop a range of 3D printable materials and deposition procedures based on polymeric and cementitious technologies.

The project will require the optimisation of existing, and development of new, materials with appropriate rheological properties and transition from the liquid to solid state.   The addition of particles and/or fibres will allow the formation of composites and enhancement of strength.

Following the development of prototype materials an assessment of their mechanical, physical and chemical properties will be undertaken.  A range of techniques such as light microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, energy-dispersive analysis of X-rays, photoelectron spectroscopy,  X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, materialography, image analysis and strength testing will be used as appropriate.  Bulk material properties and interfacial properties between different phases and printed layers will be determined.

Data obtained will be used to inform structural models which will be used to optimise the 3D printed design.

The student will be expected to work independently and to manage their time and resources.  They must have good communication skills to be able to present their results to the wider multi-disciplinary project team, the majority of whom are not materials experts, and to publish them in high impact journals and their PhD thesis.

The PhD is suitable for a highly motivated candidate with a 2:1 or 1st class degree in materials science, engineering or science subjects.

For further information please contact Dr Richard Ball, BRE Centre for Innovative Structural Materials, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath, BATH, UK.  E-mail, [email protected]