University: University of Bristol. Supervisor: Prof Robert Smith and Prof Paul Wilcox. Sponsor: Rolls-Royce.Contact: Start date: Immediate

The Ultrasonics and Non-Destructive Group at the University of Bristol and Rolls Royce Aero-engines are seeking a top class candidate to undertake research leading to the award of an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) awarded by the University of Bristol. Rolls-Royce is responsible for the design, manufacture and maintenance of the power plants in civil and military aircraft used through the world. Safety critical components are inspected both during manufacture and periodically in-service, using a range of non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques. This project will deliver automated analysis techniques for inspections of the new composite fan blades that will provide game-changing capability for the company.

Carbon fibre material is increasingly being considered for aero-engine components. Such components are being designed to withstand high loads and to have more complex shapes, making inspection for material integrity both more important and more difficult. New analysis techniques are required and are being developed for defects such as porosity. However, such techniques create large data sets that become time consuming and difficult, or impossible, to interpret by a human inspector.

The aims of the project will include:

1. Investigation of new quantitative data analysis techniques for porosity detection in CFRP.

2. Development of data fusion methods to allow extraction and presentation of information from multiple data sources.

3. Automated interpretation of 3D data.

The student will work at the University of Bristol before relocating to Rolls-Royce in Filton (Bristol) for a significant portion of their studies, where they will work within the NDE Research team, with frequent trips to the University of Bristol. The student will work alongside engineers developing inspections and will have the opportunity to influence future inspection capability for aero-engine composite components. For more information, visit

Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form in order for their qualifications to be assessed.