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PhD opportunities

Our engineering staff work collaboratively with business, industrial and academic partners to develop ‘real world’ applied solutions across a range of themes. Currently we are engaged on research projects developing a new generation of robust sensors, inclusive autonomous transport systems, autonomous robotics and drones, and sensor sensor networks (IOT).

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Staff are also actively engaged in the development of advanced manufacturing systems to deliver lightweight vehicles, cost effective metal forming processes and sustainable systems. A key aspect of this work is its connection to industry and business which is also addressed by our logistics and supply chain team.

Areas of research include:

  • Nano-fluids and heat transfer
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Sensors and remote health monitoring
  • Fluid and structure mechanics
  • Multiphysics fluid structure interaction (FSI)
  • Numerical modelling such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Non-linear control of fluid flow
  • Knowledge-based engineering
  • Wind engineering
  • Microfluidics
  • Nano-medicine
  • Urban drainage systems
  • Hydrological performance
  • Fibre reinforced composites
  • Polymer science
  • Product life cycle assessment

PhD study

We welcome enquiries relating to mechanical, electronic and civil engineering.  Current research degrees in Mechanical and Electronic Engineering are focused on, Automotive Engineering including autonomous vehicles and drones, Sensors including IOT (Internet Of Things), Manufacturing including sustainability and logistics and supply chain management.

We find it most effective to work with inquirers to focus their research ideas before a formal application is made.  You can contact either individual staff or the Faculty’s Director of Research Degrees, Professor Peter Larkham.

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Advanced Materials Manufacturing

Specialising in materials science, manufacturing systems, logistics and more to solve engineering problems.
Find out more >>
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Sensors and Control

The Sensors and Control research group promotes basic and applied research employing leading edge digital sensor and communication technologies.
Find out more >>
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Computational Modelling

The Computational Modelling research group conducts research in a variety of subject areas.
Find out more >>
Applications

Formal applications should be made on the University's online application form, which can be found under the 'How to Apply' tab of the Engineering PhD course page. The form should be accompanied by an initial research proposal of 1,000-2,500 words (fully referenced) explaining your ideas about topic and how it might be studied - this allows us to match your ideas with staff experience and interests. To discuss the application process or request an application form contact DRC.CEBE@bcu.ac.uk. 

The university enrols new research students in September and January. To allow due consideration of applications, they must be received by end of May for September start, or by end of October for January start. See below for details of active studentships:

Engineering PhD Studentships

The Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment (CEBE) is based at our City Centre Campus in Millennium Point. Research is vital to our University: it enables us to contribute new knowledge, underpins our creative and enterprise thinking and ensures we are delivering leading-edge teaching. Our researchers are making significant discoveries and partnering local, national and global organisations to find solutions to contemporary commercial, scientific and social issues.  Many of our academic staff engage in research and/or professional practice, and we have a thriving community of postgraduate research students.

Our engineering staff work collaboratively with business, industrial and academic partners to develop ‘real world’ applied solutions across a range of themes. Currently we are engaged on research projects developing a new generation of robust sensors, inclusive autonomous transport systems, autonomous robotics and drones, and sensor networks (IOT). Staff are also actively engaged in the development of advanced manufacturing systems to deliver lightweight vehicles, cost effective metal forming processes and sustainable systems. A key aspect of this work is its connection to industry and business which is also addressed by our logistics and supply chain team.

Our specialist areas include:

  • Nano-fluids and heat transfer
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Sensors and remote health monitoring
  • Fluid and structure mechanics
  • Multiphysics fluid structure interaction (FSI)
  • Numerical modelling such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Non-linear control of fluid flow
  • Knowledge-based engineering
  • Wind engineering
  • Microfluidics
  • Nano-medicine
  • Urban drainage systems
  • Hydrological performance
  • Fibre reinforced composites
  • Polymer science
  • Product life cycle assessment
  • Materials and Manufacturing
PhD Classic Doctoral Training Grant Funding Information

This 36 month (3 year) fully-funded PhD Studentship, in-line with the Research Council values, comprises a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per annum (paid monthly). The bursary is renewable annually for up to 36 months in total, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD research.

This funding model also includes a FT Home fees studentship (£4,407 for 2020-21) for up to 3 years, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD research.

This opportunity is open to UK, EU and International applicants. All applicants will receive the same stipend irrespective of fee status, however international applicants will be required to meet the difference in fee costs from their own funds.

Information for International Applicants

International applicants must submit a valid English language qualification, such as International English Language Test System (Academic IELTS) or equivalent with an overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0. Further details can be found here: https://www.bcu.ac.uk/international/your-application/english-language-and-english-tests/accepted-qualifications

Deadline for Applications

Formal applications should be made on the University's online application form, which can be found under the 'How to Apply' tab of the PhD course page. The form should be accompanied by an initial research proposal of 1,000-2,500 words (fully referenced) explaining your ideas about the topic and how it might be studied - this allows us to match your ideas with staff experience and interests.

Please ensure you include the Project Code on your proposal. To allow due consideration of applications please ensure you submit your application by 23:59 on 02 May 2021 for a September start.

Project title: CFD-based Investigation and Design Optimisation of Thermal Challenges and Active Cooling in Electric Batteries

Project code: EBE-122020-PhD-2

Contact for Application Enquires: Dr Zinedine Khatir, Associate Professor
Email: Zinedine.Khatir@bcu.ac.uk
Website: https://www.bcu.ac.uk/engineering/about-us/our-staff/zinedine-khatir

In the alteration to a decarbonized electric power system, variable renewable energy (VRE) resources such as wind and solar cells play a key role due to their availability, scalability, and affordability. However, the degree to which VRE resources can be effectively installed to decarbonize the electric power system hinges on the future availability and cost and reliability of energy storage technologies (batteries).

Temperature and humidity level greatly affect the performance, safety, and lifespan of battery cells, thus making their control a key test for battery addition into vehicles. The operating temperature of Li-ion batteries used in modern electric vehicles should be kept within a permissible range to evade thermal runaway and degradation.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are promising technologies to aid decrease the quantity of fuel expended for transportation. In both HEVs and PHEVs, the battery pack is a vital element to allowing their fuel savings potential. The battery is also one of the most costly components in the vehicle. One of the most important factors impacting both the performance and life of a battery is temperature. In particular, operating a battery at elevated temperatures reduces its life.

The effects of heat and thermal management of structures is more and more critical as performance limits are tested further by the need to have lighter, smaller and more efficient designs. Convection, conduction and radiation loads are obvious, but the need to include effect of power losses thermal energy from friction of particles and external sources such as fluid flow within battery means that analyst need to have more tools at their disposal to simulate thermal models accurately.

This PhD project will entail the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics combine with design optimization techniques to investigate thermal management of batteries. The thermal performance of the bus bar as well as microchannel cooling strategies will be analyzed for optimum cooling outcome. The research will focus on reducing cost of battery by reducing thermal losses and improve through active cooling techniques. Experimental work will be undertaken should time and resources permit.

Person specification:

The successful applicant will have, or be expecting, a good Degree and/or Masters (or equivalent) in engineering or physical sciences, with a strong interest in multidisciplinary computational engineering and science, energy and industrial applications and have a strong thermal and fluid dynamics background and knowledge of the use and development of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools, specifically OpenFOAM would be an advantage. Experience in CFD-based Design Optimisation techniques and their applications (i.e. Robust and Bayesian Optimisation, Meta-modelling, Surrogate Modelling, Machine/Deep Learning), as well as design of thermal storage and thermal airflow systems are particularly welcome.

Information for International Applicants:

International applicants must submit a valid English language qualification, such as International English Language Test System (Academic IELTS) or equivalent with an overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0.

Funding:

Applicants who apply for this project will be considered on a competitive basis in May/June 2021 against candidates shortlisted for this project. Early submission is advised, and a complete application must be received before the advert’s closing date.

The successful candidate will receive an initial bursary of up to £15,285 per annum, which will be subject to an annual review. This is a three year funded studentship including tuition fees which cover the UK rate plus stipend payments (based upon the applicable ESPRC rate at the point of the award) and additional allowances. International applicants are eligible to apply for this studentship but must meet the shortfall on fees between Home/EU and International rate.

How to apply:

To apply, please complete the project proposal form, ensuring that you quote the project reference, and then complete the online application where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement as a pdf document.

You will also be required to upload two references, at least one being an academic reference, and your qualification/s of entry (Bachelor/Masters certificate/s and transcript/s).