Investigating formability of future steel grades using rapid alloy prototyping.

Key Information

Supervisors: Dr L Sackett and Dr H Cockings.

Expected Interview Date: 13th June 2019.

Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS) are widely used in the automotive industry, offering both high strength and lightweight properties. 

These steels play a key role in reducing vehicle emissions and increasing the range of electric vehicles which will become more prominent on the roads as we head towards 2040 and the banning of conventional petrol/diesel vehicles.

This project aspires to increase the formability of AHSS to benefit the design and manufacturing process, and to ultimately increase the range of products which can be produced. 

The aim of the project is to investigate the manufacturability of steels using rapid alloy prototyping, to produce small amounts of novel compositions. Small samples will be investigated in the laboratory utilising novel techniques, including nanoindentation to mechanically characterise the steels at processing temperatures, allowing development of processing methods and to give indications as to which alloys would be viable for manufacturing. This data, collected in conjunction with heat treatments and hot and cold rolling, is intended to develop manufacturability guidelines for upscaling new alloys to commercial production. 

The Research Engineer will: 

  • Investigate potential new steel compositions seeking to improve the mechanical properties of steel, whilst exploring the implications of processability using novel techniques to characterise microstructures, residual stresses and mechanical properties during cooling of the steels on the run-out table, as well as during the coiling process.
  • Investigate stresses generated during welding of these novel steels, to understand how residual elements have an effect on residual stresses generated during the rapid heating and cooling of the welding process.

Swansea University is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University. 

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.

Sponsoring Company Tata Steel
Company Website Eligibility

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.

To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

  • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
  • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
  • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.

This Doctorate is supported by the EPSRC funded Prosperity Partnership on Rapid Alloy Development.? 


Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years. Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years.

Closing Date 27 May 2019

Start Date October 2019

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk