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Funded PhD Opportunity

Additive Manufacture via Cold Metal Transfer

Subject: Engineering


The UK National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing / 3D printing (AM-3DP) highlights the UK’s opportunity in the rapidly expanding AM market. The global market of AM products and services in 2017 was estimated to be £6bn of which the UK share is in the region of 5%. These markets are reported to be growing currently at a rate of 30% annually and with strong growth in the UK market the UK share has been forecasted to be $1bn in 2020 rising to £5.6bn in 2025.(Smith and Maier, 2017).

The advance of Additive manufacture has widened the opportunities to use metallic wire feed stock materials to manufacture complex architectures that are unsuitable for traditional manufacturing techniques. Manufacturing is the conversion of material input into goods and the efficiency of this conversion process is driven in part by the selection of materials a key determinant of the environmental impact associated with manufacturing (Gutowski et al., 2009).

Additive manufacturing techniques offers the potential to reduce the input parameters into a manufacturing process in a number of ways , including:

- Reduced waste

- Geometry optimisation (hence lower weight and less material)

- Secondary effects – such as lower transportation costs , lower inventory and replacement parts availability

- Lower overall energy usage and cost

- Customised and tailored properties (Chen et al., 2015).

Huang et al., 2013 have stated “AM is expected to become a key manufacturing technology in the sustainable society of the future”

Current research in AM conducted at Ulster (Magee) is examining the control parameters for the deposition of metal via Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) and robotic control, this follows the Wire Arc Additive Manufacture (WAAM) track. The research examines the process parameters to achieve high resolution and homogenous depositions while having a laydown rate well in excess of the more expensive and labour intensive Powder Bed Fusion techniques.

The project proposed here will examine a critical aspect of the additive manufacturing supply chain, that is, the morphology and condition of the feedstock for AM via CMT. The effect of the cyclical heat cyle asociated with the WAAM deposition process can inpart properties into a deposition that may be unfavourable. The ability to control or mitigate against these properties by way of bespoke feedstock composition could reduce the amount of post processing requirement for many of the product that WAAM will be suitable for e.g. Wing spars, Floor beams, ribs etc Utilising the current WAAM infrastructure ( Robotic Arm and CNC Table) at Magee, the project will in the first instance use commercially available feed wire and study the effects on the micro and macro structure of the deposited material.

Studies to be completed will include but are not limited to :

- Comparitive assessment of wire feedstock by experimentation

- Processing considerations - and development of process control strategies

- Deposition strategy and modelling of effects of geometry of deposition pathways

- Analysis of deposition including - chemical composition and mechanical properties

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)


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £14,777 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 14,777 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 18 February 2019

Interview Date
March 2019


Magee campus

Magee campus
A key player in the economy of the north west

Contact supervisor

Dr Nicholas Opiyo

Other supervisors


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