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KESS2 East PhD in Engineering: Development of advanced materials for enhanced head protection

Key facts

Application deadline 16 August 2019
Start date 1 July 2019
Duration 3 years
Funding body KESS
Level of study Postgraduate research
Award type PhD studentship
Number of studentships 1

Dr Peter Theobald and Dr Shwe Soe lead a research team focussing on understanding and developing new solutions that better protect the head/brain.

In collaboration with Charles Owen – a leading equestrian helmet manufacturer, they have patented a series of novel materials.   Their work is internationally respected, being the only non-US group to attract funding from the prestigious Head Health Tech programme, which aims to reduce head injury prevalence in contact sport.

The research group now comprises a series of PhD students and a post-doctoral researcher, focussing on researching and developing novel solutions for a range of helmet sectors. Common to all our activities is the use of additive manufacturing, which provides scope to realise the complex geometrical designs that are honed to achieve high-performance, established via computational (ie finite element analysis-based) simulations.

We have also developed a suite of new experimental rigs, which enable us to evaluate the mechanical viability of any new materials that could be incorporated into this workflow.

This PhD will focus on developing a novel liner for equestrian helmets, to better protect the brain. This innovation could replace the foam-based liner of existing helmets, which is the key component in absorbing energy during a fall.

The relatively narrow range of impact energies that helmets can absorb is a limitation of current materials, meaning this PhD will focus on developing a solution that can actively absorb energy during a greater range of typical fall scenarios.  This means that the liner requires strain-rate dependant behaviour (ie viscoelasticity).

This PhD will utilise existing finite element analysis models of the brain, to establish a new material-structure that will provide effective protection from a range of impacts common within equestrian. This solution will out-perform existing materials by extending the performance range beyond those currently demanded of the testing standards. It is anticipated that this novel solution will combine a novel geometric structure, manufactured using a new-to-sector, viscoelastic material.

Programme of research

During this PhD, the successful candidate will:

  • at month 9, have prepared a literature review of the current viscoelastic materials used in protection
  • at month 18, prepared their first academic paper identifying the idealised material for equestrian head protection
  • at month 30, prepared their second academic paper proposing a prototype solution.

Contact

Dr Peter Theobald

Dr Peter Theobald

Senior Lecturer - Teaching and Research

Email:
theobaldps@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 4726
Dr Shwe Soe

Dr Shwe Soe

Research Fellow

Email:
soes@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
74173

Funding details

Tuition fee support Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

Eligibility criteria

Residency Applicants for these awards must have a home or work address in the relevant area* of Wales (East or West) at the time of their application for funding and enrolment.
Academic criteria

Applicants for research PhDs are expected to have one or both of the following:

  • a first degree, normally with class 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject;
  • a relevant master's degree qualification or equivalent.

Applicants must:

  • have the right to work in the UK on completion of the scholarship
  • be classified as a ‘home’ or ‘EU’ student
  • satisfy the respective admissions criteria.

It is a condition of eligibility for KESS2 funding that you have not applied for, nor are intending to apply for, a doctoral or research master's loan. Please read clause (3) (m) of The Education (Postgraduate Doctoral Degree Loans) (Wales) Regulations 2018 for more information.

East Wales region is comprised of seven local authorities: Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.

Contact

Dr Peter Theobald

Dr Peter Theobald

Senior Lecturer - Teaching and Research

Email:
theobaldps@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 4726
Dr Shwe Soe

Dr Shwe Soe

Research Fellow

Email:
soes@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
74173

In the first instance, applicants should make initial enquiries via the named School / academic supervisor for each funded KESS2 project.  All applicants must apply initially to the Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering identifying the KESS2 Scholarship they wish to be considered for.

If deemed suitable for the project, applicants will be invited to complete a ‘KESS2 Participant Form’ which assesses eligibility for funding. Applicants must also be able to provide supporting documentary evidence of their eligibility. Guidance on this requirement is outlined in the KESS2 Participant Form, an example of which can be downloaded as above. Suitable applicants will be sent this form to complete following the School selection process.  Further advice is available from the KESS2 team.

We reserve the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.

Contact

Dr Peter Theobald

Dr Peter Theobald

Senior Lecturer - Teaching and Research

Email:
theobaldps@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 4726
Dr Shwe Soe

Dr Shwe Soe

Research Fellow

Email:
soes@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
74173

Funding opportunity provided by:

Join us on Friday 5 July to find out more about postgraduate funding opportunities for September 2019.

Eligible research programmes