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Funded PhD Opportunity

Self-diagnostic microwave sensors for non-destructive testing and evaluation

Subject: Engineering


Summary

Main goal and summary of the project Non-destructive testing and evaluation is an important scientific and engineering method to assess the properties of materials and structures without compromising their integrity. Microwave sensing is a novel direction in non-destructive testing relying on the ability of microwaves to interact strongly with various materials, including man-made composite and polymer materials and natural materials like human tissues. The main goal of this project is to develop a completely novel class of self-diagnostic microwave sensors that can be used for highly accurate, real-time non-destructive testing in aerospace, automotive and construction engineering and industrial applications and could potentially be applied for high-resolution biomedical imaging. This goal will be achieved through theoretical and experimental work involving state-of-the-art electronics and microwave technology to create advanced sensing solutions.

Project background and scientific basis Microwave sensing is based on sending interrogating electromagnetic signal towards the material or structure under test and collecting the scattered response signal. This signal contains information on the physical, mechanical, chemical or geometrical properties of the material or structure under test which can be analysed using mathematical data processing.

In this project, several technological challenges will be solved: development of electronic sensing platform supporting sensors auto-calibration, auto-diagnostic operation and seamless wireless connectivity to data processing unit; development of advanced imaging and non-destructive testing algorithms and software. Solution of these challenges should pave the way for this sensing technology into the industrial applications in aerospace and automotive industry including monitoring of the composite materials, early defect finding in aircraft structures and engines and biomedical imaging.

Project organisation and cooperation

The project supervision team is formed by academics with interdisciplinary backgrounds in electronics and composite materials engineering.  The supervision team has a very successful track record of academic and industrially-led R&D and research grant portfolio reflected in more than 100 research publications in major international journals.

The PhD researcher will be developing sensor technology  solutions and test this technology using materials provided by the NIACE Centre in Belfast and external partners: the Welding Institute and Haydale specialising in composite materials engineering.


Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 18 February 2019

Interview Date
March 2019


Applying

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Campus

Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses


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Engineering

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