Morphogenetic blade design: coupled self-restructuring and self-healing meta-skins

Morphogenetic mechanical design is an approach to engineering that is inspired by load-responsive geometrical changes observed in biological structures. Many biological structures when subjected to concentrations of high stress, will offset these stresses to preserve their structural integrity and prevent failure. They do this by either altering the geometries of their material structures (self-restructuring), or by employing mechanisms to repair and reinforce areas of damage (self-healing). While self-healing is usually an active event instigated by sensory responses to damage, self-restructuring may be either active or passive. Examples of passive self-restructuring are most common at the molecular level, while active restructuring is observed e.g. in the tension/compression cells of tree branches.

This project aims to integrate morphogenetic principles into wind and tidal turbine blade designs. Blade design should ideally yield a life expectancy of > 20 years, however realistically, blades may fail prematurely before reaching this ideal. Turbine blades in renewable energy systems are routinely subjected to multi-modal fatigue loads. The regularity and variability of the mode and magnitude of loading can lead to cracking and eventually failure, resulting in downtime and economic losses while the blades are repaired or replaced. To circumvent premature blade failure, we propose using bi-functional lightweight meta-skins to instantly provide mechanical reinforcement to the blade when overstrained or cracked, and which can concurrently deploy self-healing polymers to a blade surface to repair micro-cracks. Our meta-skins will be either; activated through integrated sense-response mechanisms, or passively activated whenever the blade overstrains. 

This project is associated with the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Wind and Marine Systems and Structures (WAMSS).  The CDT programme is joint between The University of Strathclyde, The University of Edinburgh and The University of Oxford.  For more information please see here: 

https://www.eng.ed.ac.uk/postgraduate/degrees/cdt/wind-and-marine-energy-systems-and-structures

*Notes on applying*

  • Please nominate Dr Parvez Alam as Supervisor when prompted.
  • Please quote the project title as well as 'CDT WAMSS' when asked for your Project Proposal. 
  • Closing date is 15th August or until position filled.

Further Information: 

Closing Date: 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 

Eligibility: 

Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.

Funding: 

Tuition Fees and Stipend are available for UK students and for EU students who have been resident in the UK for 3+ years. 

Funding is not available for Overseas students.

Further information and other funding options.