The objective of this PhD is to study the automated production of fibre-reinforced powder-epoxy intermediates (unidirectional tapes and coated fabrics) for manufacturing of components of wind and tidal turbine blades. The manufacture of thick-section components such as blade spar-caps and blade hubs is difficult and slow with standard resin infusion processes. The use of single-component powder resins that remain unreactive at room temperature but cure upon heating, has a number of important advantages, including a robust and simple through-thickness infusion process, faster curing times and hot debulking/consolidation and co-curing of complex structures. The PhD studentship will complement existing research programmes that are funded by the European Union www.marincomp.eu and directly by industry. Opportunities will be available for short-term secondment into partner companies as part of the PhD programme.
The PhD will develop, model and optimise an existing unidirectional fibre powder intermediate line, using carbon, glass and basalt fibres. Powder materials are deposited onto a moving fibre line, which is subsequently heated, but not cured, to form an intermediate material for manufacturing of wind and tidal components. Areas of research will include heat transfer and flow modelling of both the powder-line and thick laminate consolidation and cure processes, fibre/matrix interface studies, chemical and physical characterisation (DMTA, DSC, rheometry, FTIR, Optical and SE Microscopy, CT-Scanning), static mechanical testing (flexure, tension, compression, fracture etc.), impact testing (drop-weight) and fatigue testing. A particular feature of the work will be the study of sea-water absorption into composite laminates formed from the powder-epoxy intermediates. Mechanical and physical characterisation work will be complemented by numerical modelling, where appropriate.
- First‐class or upper second‐class degree in engineering, material science or polymer science
- Interest/experience in composite materials
- Strong analytical skills
- Good experimental skills
- Good communication skills, including the ability to write concise, readable reports
- Familiarity with composite manufacturing processes
- Experience in testing of composite materials
- Mathematical modelling ability
- Understanding of polymer chemistry related to composites
- Independent and logical thinking ability
- Good interpersonal skills
- Enthusiasm and commitment
Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.