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KESS2 East PhD in Engineering: Manufacturing effects in electrical steels for automotive drives

This funding opportunity has expired.

Key facts

Application deadline 31 March 2019
Start date 1 July 2019
Duration 3 years
Funding body KESS
Level of study Postgraduate research
Award type PhD studentship
Number of studentships One

This KESS2 East Wales PhD project aims to refine the local magnetic measurement technique and apply it to a range of current and experimental electrical steels subject to simulated and real manufacturing processes in order to fully characterise their response.


Electrical steels are the active material in all electric motors and generators and their properties are crucial to the performance and efficiency of these devices. As such, they are critical materials for the delivery of the electrification of the transport sector and renewable energy generation.

The processing of these materials is highly complex but continues to develop at an accelerating rate due to the primary drivers discussed. The properties of these materials are highly non-linear and sensitive to a wide range of processing, manufacturing and operational parameters such that the performance of the completed device is difficult to predict.

The most challenging of these is to understand the influence of the manufacturing process on the magnetic properties of the electrical steel laminations. The process consists of cutting, stamping, joining, winding and shrink fitting all of which introduce mechanical damage and/or stress into the material.

The University has previously pioneered a local magnetic measurement technique whose viability for the assessment of cut edges was proven in a recent collaboration with Cogent Power.

It is proposed to refine this technique and apply it to a range of current and experimental electrical steels subject to simulated and real manufacturing processes in order to fully characterise their response.

This will be used to develop a physical model of the mechanical processes and couple this to the magnetic properties such that computer simulations may be created allowing the optimisation of both the materials and the manufacturing process.

In parallel to this a computationally efficient engineering model will be developed for incorporation into finite element design packages such that machine designers can take these important effects into account during the design process.

Project aims and methods

You will build on work conducted within the Schools of Chemistry and Engineering at the University (again in collaboration with Cogent Power) and develop enhanced and new coating technologies. You will investigate the performance of coatings developed and proposed by your work, through the manufacturing process and their possible role in mitigating some of the effects of processing. You will thoroughly investigate functional coatings offering additional performance through bonding, high strength or tool lubrication.

Scoping and training

This project will give you the opportunity to develop key research skills and obtain an in depth knowledge of the electrical steel production process with the academic group and industrial partner. You will develop specialist knowledge through visits to customers in order to identify and quantify key material challenges

Characterisation of manufacturing effects

You will develop formalised approach to assessment of cut edge based on a previously developed technique in addition to reviewing other relevant studies to assist with defining scope and activities for this project.

Development of novel modelling approach

You will investigate physical and engineering models of degradation in electrical steels for prediction and finite element modelling of device performance leading to development of models which will be implemented in commercial FEM packages and linked to the characterisation technique for parameter identification.

Develop understanding of the role of coatings

You will develop an understanding of the role of coatings in the manufacturability of electrical steels building on recent and current work on the development of new coatings between Cardiff and Cogent Power


This project provides the opportunity to work directly with the industrial partner, Cogent Power, on a real world problem which will have an immediate impact. The research area is growing rapidly and will provide the successful student with academic and industrial opportunities in the future together with excellent prospects for influential publications.

You will have the opportunity to develop a range of key skills. These will include design and development of test equipment, electromagnetic modelling, laboratory skills, materials processing and soft skills including presentation and report writing.


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 East area of Wales 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.

You 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 7 local authorities: Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.

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

If deemed suitable for the project, you will be invited to complete a KESS2 participant form which assesses eligibility for funding. You must also be able to provide supporting documentary evidence of their eligibility. Guidance on this requirement is outlined in the KESS2 participant form. If you are selected, you 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.

Funding opportunity provided by:

Eligible research programmes