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Advanced models to simulate water quench related distortions in aluminum extrusions used for battery enclosures

Applications are invited for ONE full-time EPSRC Industrial CASE (iCASE) PhD studentship for the project above at Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST), Brunel University London starting from 1st October 2019. BCAST is an internationally-recognised research centre for innovative and leading-edge research in the field of solidification and metal processing of light alloys. It hosts the national centre of excellence in liquid metal engineering (Future LiME Research Hub) and the national scale up facilities in liquid metal engineering (Advanced Metal Casting Centre, AMCC) and light metal processing (Advanced Metal Processing Centre, AMPC). See http://bcast.brunel.ac.uk for more information. The project is sponsored by Constellium, a global leading manufacturer of high-quality technically advanced aluminium products and systems. Successful applicants will receive an annual stipend of circa £20,000 and payment of their full time home tuition fees for 4 years (48 months). 

Aluminium extrusions provide a broad range of design capabilities for manufacturing battery enclosures for electric vehicles. The high flexibility that the extrusion process offers in designing the profile cross sections enables the integration of several functionalities such as stiffness, crashworthiness and cooling that translate into direct weight savings. The development of new high strength crushable alloys enables further weight optimisation. Nevertheless, these new alloys are often more quench demanding and require soft to medium water spray conditions to simulated and modelled to provide the optimal metallurgical microstructural conditions. The water spray quench process is well-known to introduce more distortions into the hot extruded profile when compared to air cooling. Therefore, controlling the quench process becomes fundamental to ensure that the geometrical and dimensional tolerances of each single profile are under control and remain tight enough to enable the final assembly of the whole battery system. The successful candidate will develop advanced design and simulation capabilities to virtually optimise the quench recipes in order to minimise the profile distortion while ensuring that the minimum required cooling rate for a sound crash is achieved across the section.  He/she will extensively characterise the cooling characteristics of selected quench tunnel(s) and develop finite element (FE) thermal-mechanical models to simulate the quench distortion. In addition, the application of big data science such as artificial intelligence (AI) as an approach for rationalising and optimising the quench recipes will be investigated along with the FEA method. The project will be part of the activities of the Constellium University Technology Centre (UTC) established with BCAST. You will be interacting with researchers in BCAST and Constellium’s industrial research engineers.  A strong background in mathematical modelling and computer simulation is essential and experience in finite element methods is desirable.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Isaac Chang, Head of LiME Training Centre at isaac.chang@brunel.ac.uk or +44(0)1895 268491


You should have or expect to receive a first degree at 2:1 or above in a suitable engineering and science discipline, e.g. metallurgy, materials science, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, physics, etc. A Master’s level qualification is desirable but not essential.

Applicants must be eligible for home tuition fees through either nationality, residency (living in the UK for at least three years and not wholly for educational purposes) or other connection to the UK. 

How to apply

Please email the following to isaac.chang@brunel.ac.uk AND cedps-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk by 31st August 2019:

  • Your up-to-date CV;
  • Your single A4 page, single-spaced personal statement setting out why you are interested in undertaking this project;
  • Your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • Evidence of your English language capability to IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, if appropriate;
  • Names and contact details for two academic referees.