University: University of Nottingham. Supervisor: Prof. Richard Smith, Prof. Matt Clark Start date: October 2021

SRAS is a world beating microstructural imaging technique developed at the University of Nottingham.  In this PhD project we will extend the capability of SRAS imaging to be able to measure the single-crystal elasticity matrix of the materials alongside imaging the microstructure and determining the crystallographic orientation. 

This challenging and ambitious project which will suit an applicant with enthusiasm for modelling complex behaviour and performing experimental validation. A background in Engineering or Physics is essential with knowledge of material science beneficial. 

Most metals are made up of many small single crystals and the size, shape, orientation, and distribution of the crystals makes up the microstructure has a significant impact of the material’s performance. Underlying all of this are the elastic properties of the single crystal themselves and, remarkably, these are often not known (because measuring them is incredibly challenging and expensive because individual single crystals must first be prepared to exacting specifications before measurements can be made). 

  

Figure 1 – Crystallographic microstructure revealed in aluminium using SRAS imaging 

 In this project we will develop an extension to the SRAS imaging technique that will allow the single crystal elasticity matrix to be determined quickly and easily alongside normal SRAS imaging.  This will make determining the elasticity a realistic proposition for many materials for the first time.  Measuring the elasticity matrix is important because it is one of the fundamental properties that governs performance and because it changes as the material is processed and this project will work alongside leading industry partners in advanced manufacturing. 

At the heart of this project is an intriguing problem where we will extract two unknowns (orientation and elasticity) from one known (velocity) by imposing the physics of real-world materials on the solution and exploiting the powerful imaging ability of SRAS. 

Informal enquiries to matt.clark@nottingham.ac.uk or richard.j.smith@nottingham.ac.uk 

Funding: 

This studentship covers fees at the home/EU rate, a stipend of £16877 per annum and the full technical and professional training programme as part of the FIND CDT.