PhD Scholarship in Damage Tolerant Hybrid Composite Materials for Applications in Critical Aerospace Structures

The project will develop novel damage tolerant multifunctional composite materials for safe, durable design of next generation, high performance aircraft and spacecraft structures.

The primary objective is the development of computational methods and experimental techniques to investigate failure modes and quantify defects and damage in fibre reinforced hybrid composites used in the aerospace industry.

$32,000 per annum for three years with a possible six-month extension.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • Be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident who is eligible and has applied to be Australian citizen at the time of project commencement and
  • Have a Master by Research degree; or a Master by Coursework degree with a significant research component graded as high distinction or equivalent; or an Honours degree achieving first-class Honours in engineering or science, or another suitable field.

To apply, please submit the following documents to Associate Professor Raj Das via raj.das@rmit.edu.au

  • A cover letter briefly outlining your interest in the project
  • Evidence of research ability, such as a digital copy of a Masters or Honours thesis
  • A digital copy of academic transcripts
  • A CV including any education, marks/grades, relevant professional experience, publications (if any), awards (if any), and names of referees.

Applications are open now.

Applications will close when a candidate is selected.

Residual strength degradation and fatigue behaviour of composite laminates are of vital importance to the damage tolerance design of structures. Cyclic loading causes adverse effects and leads to accumulated damage and degradation of residual strength in composite laminates. Predicting the residual strength of composite structures for both monotonic and fatigue loading has several advantages in the design of critical load bearing structures and components.

The aims of the research are to develop efficient and accurate computational and experimental methodologies for characterising hybrid, multifunctional braided and fibre metal laminate composites for aerospace components. This includes damage type, location, mechanisms under complex monotonic and fatigue (cyclic) loading and assessing their effects on the residual strength degradation and consequent fatigue life. Using this information, a parametric study will be conducted with different composite material parameters (thickness, lay-up, and types of fibre and matrix) in order to develop optimised FML composites with high durability and fatigue life.

The expected outcomes of this research will be well-validated computational analysis methods to predict failure mode, and quantify defect and damage produced in fibre metal laminate composites. The models can be used to predict residual strength and estimate fatigue life of composite structures under monotonic and cyclic loading conditions. The modelling and optimisation tools will then be used in developing high strength composites with high durability and longer service life for critical aerospace components.  

The project provides opportunities to collaborate with aircraft industries and research institutes in Europe and Australia. Knowledge and background in solid mechanics and Finite element analysis will be beneficial to undertake this project.

This scholarship will be governed by RMIT University's Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.