Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship in the area of sustainable manufacturing and materials and more specifically in intelligent sorting to upcycle post-consumer metal scrap, within the Sustainable Manufactruring Systems Centre and in collaboration with Constellium (a global manufacturer of aluminium rolled products, extruded products, and structural parts based on a large variety of advanced alloys).

Constellium is a world leader in the manufacturing of high-quality aluminium products and systems whose history dates from the start of commercial production of aluminium. Constellium produces advanced aluminium alloys using cutting edge process and product technologies and is focused on
businesses specializing in rolled products, extrusions and automotive structures utilised across the spectrum of transport, packaging and general engineering applications. Due to the need for weight
reduction in modern vehicles, considerable research is underway to develop high strength alloys for use in lightweight extrusion-intensive automotive structures such as Crash Management Systems. 

There is an increasing pressure across industries to decarbonize existing and new supply chains while maintaining economic competitiveness. According to current methodology, post-consumer scrap is widely regarded as having no embodied CO2 and as such can be used to reduce the embodied CO2 by substituting primary metal. Available post-consumer scrap, depending on source, is usually a mix of different metals such as steel, cast iron, brass and aluminium. 

We are constantly exploring new processes and investing in technology that can enable us to decarbonize our product portfolio. As part of the efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Constellium has joined the UKRI Transforming the Foundation Industries Research and Innovation Hub (TransFlRe), which is being led by Cranfield University. Considering the extensive expertise built in Cranfield University in the area of Sustainable Manufacturing, the facilities available at their Department of Manufacturing and Materials, and their key role in developing a roadmap for Sustainability Manufacturing and Materials Sector for 2050, Constellium will be looking forward to further collaborating with Cranfield within the framework of an iCASE PhD research Project.

While a classification system for the varying grades of scrap exists, it is non-binding and non-standardized, resulting in an unclear and complex market situation with a variety of commercially available scrap types. Therefore, generating a better understanding of the various types of scrap, their respective availability, as well as the optimal processing routes will help generate considerable economic and environmental benefits. As costs are a critical parameter for to the exploitation of scrap, it is also vital to understand the implicated costs for each identified scrap processing scenario. A step change in processing scrap metals technology and systems, could therefore enable companies like Constellium to implement a truly circular economy business model and set the standards for the sector.

In addition to being based in Cranfield University, where the fundamental research work will be carried out, the student will join a team of researchers from Constellium's University Technology Centre (UTC) at Brunel University. The UTC was opened in April 2016 and has its research and development capability further expanded in June 2018 with by establishing an R&D Centre to transition technology from the laboratory scale to their production facilities around the world enabled by fast-prototyping facilities (casting centre and an industrial scale extrusion press complemented by forming, joining and downstream processing equipment) to make automotive components at an industrial scale. This development has been highly successful in establishing Constellium as the leading supplier of high strength aluminium alloys extrusions and forgings for automotive applications in crash management systems and lightweight applications. More recently, as part of the efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Constellium has collaborated with a number of companies active in the post-consumer scrap supply chain. Therefore, the student will have the opportunity to be involved in these developments, and we are willing to host the student for further training and development opportunities onsite. 

At a glance

  • Application deadline06 Dec 2023
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date09 Jan 2024
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSATM388


Dr Lampros Litos and Prof K Salonitis.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in chemistry/ chemical engineering, materials science or related discipline and possibly interested in industrial automations. Candidates with some industrial experience in materials recycling systems are also encouraged to apply.


This studentship is open to UK nationals only.

About the sponsor

Sponsored by EPSRC, this i-Case studentship will provide a bursary of up to £21,000 per annum, intended to cover a four-year PhD programme commencing in the 2023/24 academic year – candidates will not be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact:

Name: Dr Lampros Litos


If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form.