Structural Integrity and Qualification of 316L Aus...

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Structural Integrity and Qualification of 316L Austenitic Stainless Steel by Optimisation of Additive Manufacturing Process Parameters

Eligibility: UK/EU/International

Award Details: £16,000 bursary plus tuition fees 

Duration: Full Time - 3 years 6 months fixed term

Application deadline: This opportunity will only remain open until a suitable candidate is identified- early application is therefore advised. Standard University research application closing dates apply

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Dr. Muhammad Kashif Khan to discuss this opportunity.

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree with Coventry’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

The Project

The structural integrity of safety-critical engineering components depends on the accurate prediction of the fatigue cracking and remaining life. Additive manufactured (AM) components show anisotropic mechanical properties, high residual stresses and strong crystallographic texture. These issues affect the structural integrity of as-build AM components and are a major hindrance in the qualification of industrial components. The demonstration of safe performance and structural integrity of AM safety critical components demands accurate prediction of cracking behaviour in fatigue loading. 

Current fatigue crack propagation models have been developed for engineering alloys where the effects of residual stresses, crystallographic texture and, in particular, anisotropic properties are not considered. The project will develop a comprehensive model of structural integrity of safety critical Selective Laser Melted (SLM) austenitic stainless steel AISI 316L alloy. The model will be applicable to diverse complex loading conditions and will help in reducing the experimental testing. The modelling algorithms such as Finite Element Analysis with residual stresses, crystallographic texture and anisotropic properties for investigation of the fatigue cracking behaviour of the alloy will be a significant value addition into existing product design tools. This will enable design engineers to better predict the deformation behaviour of materials during service life of components.

About the Centres/Departments

Our research in Manufacturing and Materials Engineering builds on our historic research strengths at Coventry, and adds new research teams through investment and growth. It integrates seamlessly with the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, our flagship collaboration with Unipart Manufacturing.

This area of research will take a holistic approach to fabrication and manufacturing, focusing on the three strands of Materials, Processes, and Products; and underpinned by our expertise in Metrology and Advanced Experimentation.

We aim to be the research partner of choice for manufacturing industry in adding value, effecting knowledge transfer, generating intellectual property, and raising new technologies from concept up through the Manufacturing Readiness Levels.

Our summary research themes:

  • Process Control / Product Verification
  • Advanced Metrology and Experimentation
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Materials for Advanced Technologies
  • Integrated Product Enhancement

NSIRC is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with top UK and International Universities and a number of leading industrial partners. NSIRC aims to deliver cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners.

Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will have:

  • A good first degree in Material Engineering, Physics or Mechanical Engineering with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average, or
  • A Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at merit level (60%).
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).


  • Candidates with suitable work experience and capacity in numerical modelling, finite element modelling, and laboratory based experimental testing are particularly welcome to apply.

Eligibility & Application Procedure


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.