PhD Research Studentship
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University College London
Detection of Fatigue Cracks in Multi-layered Aircraft
Components using Guided Ultrasonic Waves
We have a vacancy for a PhD student starting this September or as soon as possible thereafter, to work on
a collaborative project investigating the detection of fatigue cracks in multi-layered aircraft components using
guided ultrasonic waves.
Aircraft and other technical structures are subject to cyclic loading, e.g., during take-off, landing,
manoeuvring, and adverse weather conditions. Such operating conditions can lead to the development of
faults during the lifecycle of the structure, ultimately causing the malfunction and failure of such structures,
endangering lives. Therefore a requirement exists for the nondestructive inspection and monitoring of these
structures to detect fatigue cracks before they have reached a critical length.
This research project will investigate and demonstrate the application of guided ultrasonic waves for rapid,
cost-efficient fatigue damage detection in large, multi-layered aircraft structures. Guided waves are low-
frequency ultrasonic waves that propagate along the structure; this allows for the rapid inspection of large
structures and can be used for the constant monitoring by permanently attached sensors.
The aim of this project is to work on real, complex, multi-layered aircraft parts which will be supplied by
Airbus UK. Fatigue crack growth during cyclic loading will be monitored using laser vibrometry. Appropriate
transducer equipment for the excitation and measurement of guided wave modes in multi-layered structures
will be developed, optimised and tested. The sensitivity for defect detection will be verified by Finite Element
The project will be conducted in the newly refurbished Ultrasonics Laboratory at the Department of
Mechanical Engineering, with industrial support by a major UK aerospace company. The research will
include experimental fatigue testing, guided ultrasonic wave instrumentation, and numerical simulation
employing Finite Element (FE) calculations. The PhD student can expect to obtain interesting mathematical,
computing, and analytical skills as well as experimental experience, and will have the opportunity to attend
several international conferences.
The studentship is for UK (home) and EU students only, and includes tuition fees and an annual stipend of
£14,000 (tax free).
The candidate must have a first class or upper second class degree or equivalent in Mechanical Engineering
or a related engineering or applied science area.
For more information, please contact Dr. Paul Fromme, email@example.com.
UCL Taking Action for Equality.
Starting date: 1st September 2006.
Closing date: 21th July 2006.