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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


PhD in Resilient nature-inspired lattices by additive manufacturing

UCL Department:
Mechanical Engineering
Location of position (non-UCL site):
Harwell, Oxford
Duration of Studentship:
Four years
£17,200 per annum.
Contact name:
Dr Chu Lun Alex Leung
Contact email:

Vacancy Information

The department of Mechanical Engineering is offering a four-year PhD in the area of Resilient nature-inspired lattices by additive manufacturing.

This project is integrated with the UK’s hub for Manufacturing with Advanced Powder Processes ( The PhD research will split 50/50 between the Harwell Campus and UCL Bloomsbury Campus.

Studentship Description

Additive manufacturing (AM) is an emerging digital manufacturing technology that produces components with complex shapes and unprecedented customisation. With increasing demand across automotive, aerospace, biomedical, and energy sectors, next-generation lattices will require tailorable, location-specific mechanical, thermal, and optical properties to satisfy industrial needs, not limited to light-weight and high strength-to-weight ratio.

A nature-inspired lattice mimics the nano-/micro-structure of crystals in metals (by upscaling it to the mm-scale) as a design principle to engineer products with tailored properties. However, limited research is done on understanding their failure mechanisms 4D (3D over time) and hence, their true potential for applications in harsh environments and/or under extreme load cases have yet to be unlocked.

This PhD project aims to explore new lattice architectures, discover their failure mechanisms, and propose new design principle to advance their performance with high damage tolerances. During the PhD, you will design and produce your own AM lattices; reveal and elucidate their failure mechanisms in 3D using a combination of mechanical testing with 4D X-ray computed tomography (XCT) in laboratory and at Diamond Light Source or other large facilities. You will combine XCT and image-based modelling to create a digital twin of the lattice material, virtually assess its failure mechanisms under different loading conditions. In addition, you will also have opportunities to investigate the new lattices across different length scales (from mm to nm) using advanced characterisation techniques available at UCL, Harwell Campus (, and Henry Royce Institute (

This project is integrated with the UK’s hub for Manufacturing with Advanced Powder Processes (

Person Specification

Applicants should ideally have a first-class, or equivalent, undergraduate degree in Physics, Mechanical, Materials Engineering, or a related discipline. Excellent organisational, interpersonal and communication skills, along with a stated interest in interdisciplinary research, are essential. Ideally, you would have experience in one, or more, of following:
  • Metallurgy
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Computational modelling is essential and prior experience with ABAQUS is desirable
  • Image analysis and/or X-ray imaging
  • Matlab and Python programming is desirable


Only HOME students are eligible to apply (see Please DO NOT enquire about this studentship if you are ineligible.

Application Procedure

 See for information. 

Prospective candidates are highly encouraged to email both: Dr Chu Lun Alex Leung ( and A/Prof PJ Tan ( for an informal discussion before applying. A recent CV, the full transcript of exam results (listing all subjects and their corresponding grades/marks) and a cover letter stating how the project meets your research interests must be included. Individuals in their final year of study should list all modules/grades for which the results are already known.

Contact name Dr Chu Lun Alex Leung
Contact details
Closing Date  30 Jun 2020
Latest time for the submission of applications  23.59
Interview date TBC
Studentship Start Date 1st October 2020
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