PhD Studentship: Mechanisms of life enhancement by laser shock peening surface treatment

United Kingdom
Feb 25, 2016
Feb 24, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

PhD Studentship: Mechanisms of life enhancement by laser shock peening surface treatment

Engineering Materials & Surface Engineering Research Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Friday 24 February 2017
Reference:  696716BX

Project Reference:  EngSci-MATS-141

Project Themes:  Materials & Surface Engineering, Structures & Solid Mechanics

Fatigue life enhancement of airframe components can be achieved through laser shock peening (LSP) treatments. Often these treatments have been developed empirically, with little or no mechanistic understanding of the relationship between the deformation applied to the material and the consequent hardening and generation of residual stress. Aluminium alloys have lower strength and stiffness than other materials that are routinely peened, which poses challenges for laser peening to develop the necessary level and distribution of residual stress without excessive reverse yielding that may lead to zero or low compressive stress at the surface. We will develop finite element simulations that accurately reflect the hardening and residual stress that is obtained in practice. We will map hardness variations using nano indentation, and use surface X-rays, incremental hole drilling and synchrotron X-rays to assess residual stress distributions. Short fatigue crack initiation and growth behaviour as well as S-N data and long crack propagation assessments will be established to compare the performance of untreated and LSP surfaces, which will build into understanding the interaction with corrosion, stress-corrosion and corrosion-fatigue conditions. Data-rich assessment of short crack initiation and early crack growth behaviour will establish the critical microstructural determinants underlying the performance. Crack growth processes from pits with and without corrosive media will be evaluated by surface observation, serial sectioning and 3D X-ray tomography.  An engineering background with a strong interest in materials performance will be an asset.  This is a CASE project sponsored by Airbus and an enhanced stipend (£2000 top-up) will be available to UK eligible applicants.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Philippa Reed, Materials research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 593763.

To apply please use the following link and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

Further details:

  • Job Description and Person Specification