Cranfield University and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) are seeking a top class candidate to undertake research leading to the award of a Phd degree. The area of investigation would be 3D printing using wire plus arc additive manufacture (WAAM) of structural alloys to be used in future generation projectiles. The scholarship would cover fees and would provide a tax free bursary of £20k per annum for 36 months.

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3D Printing with Wire plus Arc Additive Manufacture (WAAM) is a disruptive, new technology for building large, high quality, high strength components with reduced materials usage and lead times.  The Welding Engineering and Laser processing Centre of Cranfield University has a world leading position in this technology where arc-based welding processes that use wire feedstock produce meter-sized parts with deposition rates an order of magnitude greater than many competing laser-powder techniques.

High speed missiles operate in aggressive heating environments, and need structural materials capable of retaining strength at high temperature.  This limits the choice of structural material to certain classes of alloys (e.g. nickel based super-alloys, or Hastelloy) which are expensive and difficult to use in manufacture.  Both of these qualities are undesirable for an expendable system, such as a missile, which require reduced unit cost.  In addition, flight test schedules need to be affordable and operate on potentially compressed timescales to reduce the project’s cost, and, therefore, it is desirable to minimise reliance on traditional supply chains to avoid potentially long lead times.  Therefore future high speed missile projects will require low cost, rapid manufacturing methods such as WAAM for niche materials.

The aim of this PhD project is the development of WAAM for materials used in extreme environments.  This will be achieved with the following objectives:

  • Evaluation of the weldability and high temperature material properties of a range of alloys deposited with WAAM, enabling the selection of an alloy for further development.
  • Development of WAAM parameters and tool paths to produce the range of features contained within a demonstrator component provided by DSTL.
  • High temperature testing and microstructural analysis to determine the relationship between performance and the WAAM processing conditions.
  • Manufacture of the demonstrator component.

The PhD will provide the student with exposure to the latest equipment and techniques for 3D printing with WAAM as well as equipment for high temperature testing.  Candidates will need to have a background in Engineering (preferably Mechanical), Materials or Physics.  They will also need to have a British passport.

The School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing (SATM) in Cranfield University is a leading provider of postgraduate level engineering education, research and technology support to individuals and organisations. The Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre (WELPC) was established in 1961 and is the only specialist welding research centre in UK academia. The Centre provides fundamental, strategic and applied research in the field of welding science and engineering along with postgraduate studies. The Centre is internationally leading for its rolling technology development programme on wire plus arc additive manufacturing. The WAAM programme aims to make the UK the leading technology provider in terms of transforming practice and creating a commercial option. 

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) ensures that innovative science and technology contribute to the defence and security of the UK.  It is an executive agency, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Dstl supply specialist services to the Ministry of Defence and wider government. 60% of the MOD science and technology programme (total funding: £410 million) is supplied by our external partners in industry and academia worldwide.  As an executive agency of MOD, Dstl is run along commercial lines. It is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to science and technology in the defence and security field.  The responsibilities of Dstl include:

•  Supplying sensitive and specialist science and technology services for MOD and wider government

•  Providing and facilitating expert advice, analysis and assurance on defence procurement

•  Leading on the MOD’s science and technology programme

•  Understanding risks and opportunities through horizon-scanning

•  Acting as a trusted interface between MOD, wider government, the private sector and academia to provide science and technology support to military operations by the UK and her allies

•  Championing and developing science and technology skills across MOD


Within this programme, the student will have the unique opportunity to work and perform fundamental research with a leading group of scientists focused on development of this specific 3D printing technology with specific application in mind. The student will be given all the necessary training for him to be able to deliver the expected research output alongside training to develop transferable skill and engineering leadership. The student will be given the opportunity to present the work within the WAAMMat consortium and in international conferences to build his repute and develop networking for the future.

At a glance

  • Application deadline31 Aug 2019
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date30 Sep 2019
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSATM114


Dr Supriyo Ganguly

Entry requirements

Candidates should have a minimum of an upper second (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in Materials Science or Mechanical Engineering.


This studentship is available to UK citizens only. The scholarship would cover fees and would provide a tax free bursary of £20k per anum for 36 months.

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

To apply for this studentship please use the online application form

For further information please contact:     

Name: Supriyo Ganguly
(0) 1234 750111 Ext: 5054