Structures with controllable stiffness

A fully funded PhD opportunity has become available in the Centre for Engineering Materials, within the School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, at the University of Surrey.

Start date
1 July 2019
Application deadline
Funding information

The studentship covers the full costs of UK/EU tuition fee, plus a tax-free stipend of approximately £ 14,777 p.a., in line with standard RCUK stipend levels (2018-2019).

Funding source
School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, University of Surrey
Supervised by

Iman Mohagheghian
Robert Dorey
Head of School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, Professor of Nanomaterials


Traditionally, structures were designed to meet a specific load carrying requirement. However, in recent years with the growing demand for reducing mass and volume of structures as well as improving efficiency, the area of multi-functional materials and structures has gained considerable attention. Encapsulating sensing, actuation and control within a structure can be greatly beneficial considering weight reduction and less need for additional components with non-structural functionalities.

A structure with controllable stiffness is an example of a multi-functional structure where the primary load carrying capacity can be combined with functional behaviour such as sensing, actuation or impact resilience. Structures with controllable stiffness have indeed found applications in many of the emerging technologies such as soft robotic, conformal shape adaptation or morphing, deployable structures and active impact protection systems.

In this project, the focus will be on design and development of structures with rapid reversible rigid-compliant switching capability. Fibre-reinforced composites and multi-material 3D printed structures will be considered. The design, analysis and optimisation will be conducted with the combination of experimental, finite element and analytical approaches.

A successful candidate should have good analytical skills as well as a good background in solid mechanics. Knowledge or experience in the areas of mechanical behaviour of materials, materials characterisation, additive manufacturing and finite element analysis are desirable.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least an Upper Second Bachelor’s degree, and preferably a Master’s degree, in an appropriate discipline (e.g. engineering, physics, material sciences, applied mathematics or related subject).

IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) is required, with no sub-test score less than 6.

How to apply

Formal applications can be made through our Engineering Materials PhD programme page. In your application you must mention this studentship in order to be considered.

Informal applicant enquiries are recommended prior to submission and can be directly made to Dr Iman Mohagheghian.

Engineering Materials PhD

Application deadline

Contact details

Iman Mohagheghian
12 AB 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 682352
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