paper-plane envelope home office pencil quill pen image images camera play bullhorn connection mic file-text2 file-picture file-music file-play file-video copy folder folder-open folder-plus folder-minus folder-download folder-upload price-tag price-tags ticket phone envelop pushpin location compass map map2 clock alarm fax mobile bubble bubbles user users user-plus user-minus user-check quotes-left quotes-right search pie-chart stats-dots stats-bars airplane cloud-download cloud-upload earth link flag eye eye-blocked arrow-up-left arrow-up arrow-up-right arrow-right arrow-down-right arrow-down arrow-down-left arrow-left2 share amazon google-plus google-drive facebook instagram twitter rss youtube flickr dropbox linkedin file-pdf file-openoffice file-word file-excel

UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


PhD in detection and identification of damage in composite fibre/metal laminate structures using guided ultrasonic waves

Mechanical Engineering
Duration of Studentship:
Four years
£17,285 per annum
Dr Eral Bele:

Vacancy Information

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is offering a four year PhD in the area of detection and identification of damage in composite fibre/metal laminate structures using guided ultrasonic waves.

The overarching aim of this PhD project is to develop structurally efficient layered composite systems by investigating and improving the detection and characterisation of damage, through the use of guided ultrasonic waves.

Studentship Description

Leading manufacturers in the aerospace industry are working towards new composite materials for the next generation of aircraft structures. The design requirements to reduce weight while maintaining strength, damage tolerance, and structural integrity. Guided by nature inspired design for the engineering of such lightweight materials, the research group is involved in the development of layered composite fibre/metal systems. These materials can combine the high ductility and toughness of metals with the high stiffness and resilience of fibre reinforced composites, leading to ultra-ductile precursors for stretch-forming and stamping processes of car and aircraft parts.

A critical need for the design of such materials is monitoring and modelling damage during manufacturing and service. During manufacturing, the main damage mechanisms are delamination in the metal/composite interface, voids in the matrix, and fibre pull-out. In service, composite materials are especially susceptible to barely visible impact damage (BVID), limiting structural performance. Therefore, a requirement exists for the non-destructive inspection of these materials to characterize the internal structure, and to detect and monitor damage.

Guided waves are low-frequency ultrasonic waves that propagate along the structure, allowing for the rapid inspection of large structures with limited access requirements. Signal analysis allows damage localization and sizing, with high detection efficiency for surface and internal defects. The multi-modal characteristics of guided waves provide abundant damage information but also increase the signal processing complexity.

Person Specification

Applicants must have a UK-equivalent first degree in Mechanical/Structural/Materials Engineering, or an equivalent discipline with a high technical content. Experience with Finite Element software (ABAQUS) is a significant advantage.


Funding requirements dictate that only students with UK nationality, or any EU passport holders who have lived in the UK for more than 3 years can receive the full value of the award. All other applicants are only eligible for fees-only funding.

Applicants should write to Dr Eral Bele ( and Dr Paul Fromme ( with a recent CV, letter of interest, and a full transcript of exam results.

Closing date: 31 September 2020

For further information and application details, visit the HR website.

Back to top