Mechanical Engineering


Making Additive Manufacturing Sustainable Using Functionalised Coatings

A fully funded PhD studentship in the Department of Mechanical Engineering

Key information

Lead supervisors: Prof Peter D Lee and Dr Chu Lun Alex Leung
Application deadline: ongoing
Project start date: flexible
Project duration: 3 years
Eligibility: open to UK students only
Studentship funding: Home tuition fees (currently £5,690/year) and maintenance stipend (currently £19,668/year)
Project location: UCL Harwell campus and UCL Bloomsbury campus

PhD project description

Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is an emerging digital manufacturing technology that produces components with complex shapes. Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology fuses powder particles into components, layer-by-layer, directly from a digital file. The process and product qualification of LPBF is governed by the complex interactions between laser, powder, and the processing environment which take place in milliseconds and are difficult to study. 

This project is integrated with the UK’s hub for Manufacturing with Advanced Powder Processes, Materials Made Smarter Research Centre, and Manufacturing by Design consortium. The PhD research will be based at the Harwell Campus. You will have opportunities to use advanced characterisation facilities at the Harwell Campus, UCL Bloomsbury Campus, Henry Royce Institute, European Synchrotron Radiation Facilities, and other large facilities worldwide.

The successful PhD candidate will develop next-generation functionalised powder materials to improve the laser absorption of powder materials, and then upscale the production of these materials for LPBF and other powder-based AM processes. You will perform extensive materials characterisation techniques to fully understand how these novel materials functionalised the powder bed; using flagship X-ray imaging experiments to provide an in-depth understanding of the laser-matter interaction, including the absorption mechanisms, multi-phase flow, and solidification behaviour and instructions to design next-generation engineering tools for process and product optimization.

Person specification

Applicants should ideally have a first-class, or equivalent, undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, or a related discipline.

Excellent organisational, interpersonal, and communication skills, along with a stated interest in interdisciplinary research, are essential. 

Ideally, you will have experience in one, or more, of the following:

  • Metallurgy
  • Chemistry
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Powder characterisation
  • Matlab and Python programming


This PhD studentship is open to UK students only.

How to apply

Eligible applicants should first contact Prof Peter D Lee (peter.lee@ucl.ac.uk) and Dr Chu Lun Alex Leung (alex.leung@ucl.ac.uk). Please enclose the following documents:

  • A one-page statement outlining suitability for the project
  • A two pages CV (including contact details of two referees)

After discussing the project with Prof Lee and Dr Leung, eligible applicants should also submit a formal PhD application via the UCL website.

The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates.