Mechanics and Advanced Materials (PhD/MPhil/EngD)
3 years; EngD - 4 Years; MPhil - 1-2 years (Full-time) / 5 years; MPhil 2-3 years (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)
Postgraduates on the MPhil/PhD programme in Engineering at Cardiff can pursue research across a wide range of areas via the School's seven multidisciplinary research institutes. Within these Institutes are a number of research groups working across the three engineering disciplines of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering on major research themes such as Energy, Environment, Health, Communication, Security and Materials.
- Cardiff School of Engineering’s research income currently exceeds £10 million from public and private sectors and supports innovative research in traditional and emerging areas.
- State-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities, and modern laboratories.
- The Cardiff School of Engineering is recognised as being one of the top engineering research centres in the UK. In the RAE 2008, Cardiff School of Engineering consolidated its position as one of the top 10 research led engineering schools in the UK.
- Mechanical Engineering was ranked in the top 10 amongst UK peers.
The Institute for Mechanics and Advanced Materials
The mission of the Institute is to develop, validate and verify reliable models alongside robust, accurate and efficient simulation tools to describe and understand complex non-linear systems, both natural and engineered, on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, with an emphasis on advanced materials and structures.
In order to address this challenge, the vision of the world-class team of theoretical and computational mechanics researchers in the Institute is to, over the next 5 years:
- Develop novel approaches to model and simulate systems from the atomistic to the continuum level with a special emphasis on multiscale fracture, contact, friction and adhesion
- Consolidate the development of advanced discretisation techniques to tackle non-equilibrium problems involving moving discontinuities, singularities and strong topological changes (extended and generalized finite elements, meshless/meshfree methods, lattice and molecular dynamics)
- Construct solution algorithms capable of handling very large non-linear (eigenvalue) problems with controlled computational cost
- Focus on multi-phase, multi-scale and multi-field materials, in particular: (bio)composites, nano/micro-electronics materials
- Propose real-time and interactive simulation tools for computational steering and surgical simulation through e.g. model order reduction algorithms
- Study Nature to inspire the design of new materials and structures
- Investigate novel approaches to achieve predefined accuracy levels for highly non-linear problems
- Develop novel algorithms, sustainable and open-source software with professional developers to harness the soaring computing power available for massively parallel simulations to prepare for exascale computing (2017).
There are two major research groups working under this area of research:
- Theoretical, Applied and Computational Mechanics
- Tribology and Contact Mechanics
Theoretical, Applied and Computational Mechanics
A major emphasis of this group is the understanding of how the internal microstructure of an engineering material influences its response under service conditions. Research interests in this area include nanostructured materials, and the development of constitutive models of different polymeric, particulate and cement-based composites, quasi-brittle materials such as concrete and ceramics, foams, and so on, from micromechanical principles and experimentation to describe their plastic, fracture, damage and fatigue behaviour. These models are then implemented using high performance computational strategies based on extended finite element methods (XFEM), hybrid crack elements (HCE), meshless methods and multi-scale modelling techniques employing smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) and lattice simulations.
Another major area of interest is the use of exact member equations in structural analysis to avoid the need for finite element discretisation. The resulting transcendental eigenproblems are solved using the Wittrick-Williams (W-W) algorithm, which is at the heart of work in buckling, postbuckling, vibration and wave propagation. In collaboration with NASA and Airbus, analysis and optimum design software (VICONOPT and BUNVIS-RG) has been developed for stiffened wing and fuselage panels, and also for lightweight 3-dimensional frame structures for space applications. VICONOPT is being extended for use in the preliminary design of aerospace structures with particular emphasis on the postbuckling analysis of stiffened panels made from carbon fibre composite materials, modelling of damage in composite materials, multi-level optimisation and modelling for uncertainty in material properties, structural dimensions and loads. Applications of transcendental eigenproblems are being discovered in other disciplines, including pure mathematics, optimal control and fibre optics.
Current research projects deal with:
- Mechanics of nanostructured materials
- Development of constitutive models for concrete and high performance fibre reinforced cementitious composites and their implementation in finite element codes (especially in the commercial code LUSAS)
- Development of novel self-healing cement-based materials
- Multi-scale modelling of damage and fracture
- Use of CARDIFRC as a replacement for structural steel
- SPH for modelling particulate composites
- Large deformation modelling of metallic foams
- Development of analysis and optimum design software for composite aerospace panels
- Multi-level optimum design of aircraft wings, with allowance for postbuckling
- Modelling of delamination and other damage in composite materials
- Modelling for uncertainty in structural analysis, using interval arithmetic.
Tribology and Contact Mechanics
Tribology is the study of surfaces, their relative motion, contact, adhesion, indentation, friction, lubrication, fatigue and wear. The well-established group carries out both fundamental and applied research in this interdisciplinary area and has developed a specialised interest in the behaviour of the highly stressed contacts (both dry and lubricated) that occur in vital components such as rolling element bearings, between the teeth of power transmission gears and in nano devices.
Currently, a major aim of this work is to improve understanding of the gear distress phenomena of micropitting and scuffing. Lubricated contacts of this type are described as elastohydrodynamic (EHL) because their operation involves the interaction of surface deformation and hydrodynamic lubrication effects. This lubrication mechanism is illustrated in the figure which shows a white light optical interferogram obtained at the EHL contact between a steel ball and a glass disc. The film thickness at the centre of the contact is 0.36 micro-metres and the maximum contact pressure is 0.7 GPa. The behaviour of dry contacts at the nano-scale can become dominated by roughness and adhesion effects, and the basic theoretical understanding of this important class of contact problems is being aided by scaling techniques including the pre-fractal representation of surface geometry.
For more information please see the Tribiology and Contact Mechanics group's website.
Suitable for graduates in mechanical manufacturing, materials or structural engineering.
UK & EU Full Time for 2013/14
UK & EU Part Time for 2013/14
International Full Time for 2013/14
International Part Time for 2013/14
Next intake: The University has four entry points for research degrees; 1st October, 1st January, 1st April or 1st July
Name: Research Office, School of Engineering
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 4642
Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4939