Ahmed Elmarakbi

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

1. Graphene related materials-structural self-healing Araldite adhesives

Structural adhesives are used in the automotive, space, aviation and naval industries for structural parts. Within this proposal, the potential PhD candidate will develop a new class of composite adhesives combine enhanced mechanical and self-healing properties based on Araldite resins. He/She will investigate several Araldite adhesives with the addition of thermoplastic copolyesters and graphene flakes. These adhesives will overpass and replace the commercial engineering Araldites in several applications.

2. Design of multi-functional hierarchical 3-phase GRM composites

The progress beyond the SotA on the design and modelling 3-phase graphene related materials (GRM) composites is limited when considering a fully coupling and integration of mechanical properties with multiphysics fields mainly the electrical conductivity. Within this proposal, the potential PhD candidate will develop a rigorous consistent thermodynamics framework accounting for materials behaviour coupled with exceptional thermal properties and electrical conductivity of GRM composites for wider applications.

3. Lightweight self-healing architectured graphene-based nacre nanolaminates

Within this proposal, the potential PhD candidate will develop smart lightweight hierarchical graphene-based bulk nanocomposite material based on a novel concept for intelligent components with nacre nanolaminated architectures that integrate self-healing functionality and high damping performance for structural applications. This smart material with enhanced structures and its integrated functionality enable ease communication and interaction with their surroundings.

4. Upscaling to industry – graphene related materials-based composites design and optimization

Within this proposal, the potential PhD candidate will reach an advanced maturity to move from model development to application and upscaling for industrial application. The materials design to link chemical and physical composition, microstructure and effective properties at a macroscale. Upscaling to industry to be built based on high performance materials design, prototype structures and optimising performance, and integrated environment platform to balance accuracy and speed.

5. Material modelling and simulation of graphene composites and hierarchical composites under extreme conditions

Within this proposal, the potential PhD candidate will study development of fundamental material models capable of characterising behaviours in graphene composites and hierarchical composites materials HCM, considering chemical and physical factors dictate the trade-offs between characteristics, as strength vs. ductility and toughness He/She will develop novel constitutive laws CLs including progressive damage, failure criteria, interfaces, and behaviours under extreme conditions (crash, high pressure and stress, strain arte, low and high temperature, fatigue, vibration, welding process, etc.). The new CLs and associated algorithms relate the intrinsic properties and the rheological, electrical, mechanical, and thermal of the new composites. The new material models will be implemented in end-user FE software (LS-DYNA), validated, and will be available for use widely. Once numerical model of particular components is developed, several load conditions will be investigated at low cost. Potential structural applications (e.g. automotive, aerospace, etc.) will be identified together with respective simulations with the developed FE models. Comprehensive optimisation of geometry/material distribution will be studied for defined structural components.

6. Mechanical testing and damage analysis of hierarchical composites

Within this proposal, the potential PhD candidate will capture multiscale evolution in a consistent computational framework and predict their effect on macroscopic performance and failure. Experimental tools, ranging in scale from bench-top laboratory instruments to major national user facilities, will be used to measure the resulting physical and mechanical effects of materials under severe conditions quantitatively. The hierarchical composites materials HCM will be tested to determine their static properties, fatigue life, impact damage resistance and failure characteristics. He/She will also carry out composite testing in different modes (bending, uniaxial tension/compression, creep, fatigue, fracture toughness and stress transfer, impact, etc.) and at different temperature/humidity levels and with different graphene platelets GPL volume fractions and functionalisation will be performed. In addition, the interfacial load transfer characteristics at the GPL-polymer matrix/reinforced fibres interface will be measured, in order to develop an in-depth understanding effectiveness of enhancement of mechanical properties with GPL additives, extension the lifetime, and improving the behviours of HCM under extreme conditions.

7. Development of novel graphene hybrid-supercapacitors

Within this proposal, the potential PhD candidate will develop a supercapacitor film-based graphene (GSCf) as potential application for electrical vehicle’s battery replacement. The GSCf is exceptionally thin and strong and releases energy very quickly needed for a high acceleration rate. He/She will work to increase the amount of energy to be released as a candidate for mass-storage batteries with charging time of a few minutes. He/She will investigate the how these GSCf will be integrated into several places areas of the vehicle structure to maximise the energy storage, and significantly reducing the vehicle weight by excluding the traditional battery form the structural design. Hence, he/she will develop novel metal oxide anchored nanocarbon graphene foam nanoarchitectures that improve the performance of supercapacitors, a development that could mean faster acceleration in electric vehicles and longer battery life in portable electronics. He/She will also explore how nanoarchitectures in term of morphology, particle size, surface area, and pore size/distribution define energy and power performance. Modelling, design characterisation, fabrication and testing of the new GSCf will be carried out.

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