Rolls-Royce PhD Studentship in "Machining Features in Exotic Aerospace Alloys"

University of Derby, The College of Engineering and Technology’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE)

One funded full time traditional route PhD studentship is available as part of the University’s wider investment for the next Research Assessment Framework (REF). The College of Engineering and Technology aims to deliver a 3* performance equivalent to internationally excellent level in the next round of REF assessment (expected in 2021).

The studentship covers tuition fee to the UK home/EU level and provides a tax free stipend, which depending upon skills and experience, is in the range of £14,777 - £19,000 p.a. for 3 years subject to satisfactory progress. The start date is March 2019 or the next available intake.

Project Title:    Machining Features in Exotic Aerospace Alloys


Qualification type:



Derby, UK

Funding amount:

£14,777 - £19,000 stipend pa + UK home tuition fees


Full Time


6 January 2019


22 January 2019

Start date:

March 2019 or next available intake

The University of Derby’s IISE collaborates in research with Rolls-Royce and coolant suppliers to enable cutting fluids to be appraised in hard-to-machine exotic aerospace alloys under simulated field performance conditions. The IISE performs cutting trials using an advanced CNC machine-tool which has been fitted with the latest spindle mounted sensor with instrumentation to gain accurate measurement of the dynamic torque and forces in machining exotic alloys.

The research will establish a testing regime to assess the effectiveness of coolants under simulated field performance conditions, in particular to enable the development and appraisal of new cutting fluids with low environmental impact.

The PhD Post Graduate Research Studentship (PGRS) studentship project will plan and conduct the necessary experiments to understand the effect of the tool, process, measurement error and cutting fluid behaviour on the machining of features in hard-to-machine alloys such as Titanium and Inconel. The studentship will develop a methodology and model capable of differentiating cutting fluid performance with a high signal to noise ratio. The studentship project will seek to differentiate process induced noise factors and control factors together with an understanding of instrument measurement error and how this can be mitigated. The appropriate FMEA methods will be deployed to develop the process controls needed. Data analysis techniques will be applied such as conventional statistics and Artificial Intelligence methods to the data sets recorded by the instrument which typically include torque, axial thrust and transverse cutting forces to provide the necessary depth of understanding. The measurement of tool wear and analysis of the quality of the machined feature using a digital microscope and scanning electron microscopy may also be studied.

Entry Requirements 

An excellent degree in a Mechanical / Manufacturing engineering discipline with a Masters majoring in a complementary discipline. Research and/or laboratory based experience is desirable. The candidate will have an analytical mind with a methodical attention to detail in the planning, supervising and execution of lab based experiments with inputs and leadership from the client. The candidate will demonstrate the necessary computer skills needed for the analysis of large data sets. The candidate will demonstrate excellent report writing in English, together with presentation and communication skills which will involve regular correspondence with the client. Team work is key to the success of this project and therefore the candidate will be expected to adapt to the hours of work to fit in with the wider team and also demonstrate initiative and leadership qualities. The student is expected to publish research output in reputable journal and conference outlets during the project.

How to apply:

In order to apply, please see the University website at In addition to the documents requested on the website, please also include with your application a Curriculum Vitae and a covering letter. Completed applications should be submitted by email to, quoting reference E&T_RollsRoyce_PGRS_0119 in the subject line.

For further information and informal discussions on possible research topics please contact Dr Paul Wood (, Director of the IISE). Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. If you have not been invited for interview by the interview date, please assume that on this occasion your application has not been successful.

Studentships are available to UK/EU and International applicants. If your application is successful and you are assessed as Overseas for fees purposes, you will need to pay the difference between the Home/EU fees and the Overseas fees.