Areas of expertise

  • Aerospace Manufacturing
  • Computing, Simulation & Modelling
  • Power Systems & Turbines
  • Structures and Materials
  • Welding and Laser Processing


Dr Yongle Sun is a Lecturer in Additive Manufacture. He obtained BSc (2009) and MSc (2011) in Mechanics at Xi'an Jiaotong University and PhD (2015) in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Manchester. He worked as a research associate in modelling of nuclear manufacturing processes at Manchester before joining Cranfield University as a lecturer in February, 2020. His research is closely linked to nuclear & gas energy, and aerospace industries.

Yongle has over 10 year research experience tackling the scientific and application challenges associated with important engineering materials, such as high-strength / low-alloy steels, lightweight protective materials (e.g. energy-absorbing and load-attenuating foams) and thermal barrier coatings. These materials (or material systems) and the ways to process them play crucial roles in underpinning our energy and aerospace industries.

Yongle's expertise and research lies in revealing the relations between process, micro- / meso-structures, mechanical properties and performance of engineering materials and their constructed systems. He has been developing numerical and theoretical models capable of capturing multiple physical factors across different length and time scales, to understand key mechanisms and provide practical solutions to engineering problems. He is also actively involved in experimental characterisations and measurements to validate and complement the modelling of arc / laser / electron-beam welding, material response to impact loads, oxide growth induced stress, etc.

Examples of Yongle's contribution to his research fields include innovative modelling of weld dilution, tempering, inter-part opening/sliding gap distortion (and its restraint) and residual stresses in weldments, revealing small-scale mechanisms that control quasi-static and dynamic compressive behaviours of cellular materials, and understanding oxide growth stress and residual stress in thermal barrier coating systems.

Yongle's achievements in research have been demonstrated through scholarly / engineering publications and industrial projects / applications. He is the first author of 15 research papers published in leading journals and a corresponding author or a co-author of other 25 papers. His H-index is 17 according to Google Scholar. His PhD study on lightweight and energy-absorbing cellular materials constituted part of the innovative application of new techniques in X-ray imaging, for which University of Manchester was awarded Queen's Anniversary Prizes, and Yongle was selected to attend the awarding ceremony held in Buckingham Palace. One of his first-authored papers is indexed as the No. 1 on the list of most cited International Journal of Impact Engineering Articles (those published after 2017). His research findings about welding have been applied in UK nuclear energy industry to address the technical challenges associated with new nuclear manufacturing, as part of the outcome from NNUMAN and MATTEAR projects with total funding of £9M.

Research opportunities

The following research topics are available for PhD study programme:

1. Model-informed efficient mitigation of distortion and residual stress in large-scale additive manufacturing;

2. Inherent strain method for efficient prediction and evaluation of residual stress and distortion in wire-based additive manufacturing;

3. Modelling of in-process rolling, peening, cooling and other heat treatment to optimise metal additive manufacturing;

4. Molten pool behaviour informed heat source and weld bead profile modelling for finite element analysis;

5. Lattice structure optimisation in metal wire additive manufacturing;

6. Residual stress and distortion of additively manufactured part or component made of alloys subject to solid state phase transformation.

Applications for PhD study are welcome! The above research topics are closely linked to an ongoing £7M NEWAM research programme (

Please contact Dr. Yongle Sun or the admission team of the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre for more details about the PhD research opportunity.

Current activities

Yongle's current research is focused on modelling of advanced manufacturing processes, particularly for metal wire additive manufacture. He is working on bridging the highly predictive but less efficient mechanistic models at small scales, as derived from fundamental principles, with more versatile and efficient but partially empirical models at large scales, which are best suited for engineering analysis. Ultimately, his work would lead to an integrated cross-scale and multi-physics modelling approach for molten pool, grain growth, solid state phase transformation, distortion and stress in metal additive manufacturing.

Yongle has been actively contributing to scholarly and engineering journals as an author of research papers, as wells as a reviewer for over 30 international journals (e.g. Acta Materialia, Additive Manufacturing, International Journal of Plasticity, Virtual and Physical Prototyping). He has been engaging with energy and aerospace industries for applying his research outcome in making real-world difference.

Yongle also serves the research / industry community through the following roles:

  —  Member, Manufacturing Process Simulation Working Group, NAFEMS, 2020 – Present

  —  Member, Metallic Additive Manufacturing Focus Group, NAFEMS, 2020 – Present

  —  Review Editor, Editorial Board of Solid Mechanics, Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, Frontiers Media S.A., 2020 – Present

  —  Topic Editor, (1) Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing; (2) Coatings. MDPI, 2020 – Present


- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK

- Wood Plc, Rolls-Royce, EDF

- UK Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers