PhD Studentship - Extending the envelop of advanced X-ray imaging for data-rich analysis of composite structures

University of Southampton

United Kingdom

August 31, 2022


PhD Studentship - Extending the envelop of advanced X-ray imaging for data-

rich analysis of composite structures

Mechanical Engineering

Location: Highfield Campus Closing Date: Wednesday 31 August 2022 Reference: 1677222DA

Supervisory Team: Ian Sinclair, Mark Spearing, Mark Mavrogordato

Project description

Polymer matrix composites, such as carbon fibre-epoxy, constitute a core light-weighting technology across virtually all transport sectors (aerospace, automotive, marine), providing a vital element of net-zero carbon objectives for the future.

Optimisation of advanced composite structures is however fundamentally prohibited by current testing, simulation and certification approaches. As part of a £6.7M EPSRC Programme Grant we seek to break this impasse by holistically reshaping the traditional building-block approach to design and the associated 'test-pyramid'. Combining world-class expertise from the Universities of Southampton, Bath, Bristol and Exeter, the project will promote a rigorous and practical shift to virtual testing, enabling numerous benefits in mass savings, reduced empiricism, expansion of the design envelope, and reduction of design costs/time.

A key element of this will be to validate novel non-destructive evaluation (NDE) tools for component-scale composite samples, and linking the associated results to mechanical performance. Collaborating with a team of researchers across the universities, the current PhD will particularly explore and optimise the role of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (XCT) in meso-scale feature quantification in large composite components. This will require adaptation of conventional XCT scanning methods, specifically the large-scale use of laminography for flat/laterally extended objects, building on many years' experience within the nationally and internationally recognised Southampton µ-VIS lab (www. and www. The project will involve sophisticated experimental (X-ray imaging) and computational aspects (3D image reconstruction). Whilst primarily working with established software packages and toolkits, candidates are expected to demonstrate interest in coding and experience in Python, MATLAB or similar scientific computing environments. The project is thus suitable for engineering, material science or physics graduates with strong computational skills.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof Ian Sinclair, Engineering Materials Research Group, Email:

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date : applications should be received no later than 31 August 2022 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Ian Sinclair

Applications should include :

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https: // www.

For further information please contact:

The School of Engineering is committed to promoting equality, diversity inclusivity as demonstrated by our Athena SWAN award. We welcome all applicants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or age, and will give full consideration to applicants seeking flexible working patterns and those who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy, onsite childcare facilities, and offers a range of benefits to help ensure employees' well-being and work-life balance. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and has been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.


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One of the top research universities in the U.K., the University of Southampton is best-known for its innovative learning system. The university is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Originating from Hartley Institution in 1862, Southampton...