Mechanical Engineering


Novel topologies and technologies for advanced reluctance machines

A fully funded PhD studentship in the Department of Mechanical Engineering

Novel Topologies and Technologies for Advanced Reluctance Machines

Key information

Lead supervisors: Dr Pedram Asef
Application deadline: 15 June 2024
Project start date: 01 October 2024
Project duration: 4 years
Studentship funding: Home tuition fees (currently £6,035/year) and maintenance stipend (currently £20,622/year) for 3.5 years

PhD project description

This PhD project introduces novel and strong topologies and non-standard techniques that may offer innovation in future high-speed rare-earth (RE) magnet-free electrical machines for electric propulsion systems. This project investigates feasible and environmentally friendly machine design solutions and mechanical structures to be enabled for high-speed and power-dense operations. The project needs to reckon how novel configurations and non-standard materials and designs could be employed to transform electromagnetic and mechanical limits when RE magnets are absent.

This project aims to define what it takes to transform standard electric machines, in which rich electromagnetic and mechanical structures for RE magnet-free motors will be investigated to enable them to operate as premium as existing machines (e.g., PMSMs) under significant inverter currents and temperatures. This study discovers new non-standard designs to be capable of operating in high-speed applications. 

The project’s aim is to discover new designs and non-standard methods to achieve electromagnetic excellence for magnet-free machines and prototype these novel parts for a novel electric motor. Hence, the researcher should be capable of: 

  1. developing alternative and new magnet-free topologies, non-standard materials, and manufacturing innovations for advanced synchronous/switched reluctance machines. Researchers with similar past projects need to present their findings. 
  2. significant modelling and simulation expertise for electrical machines, such as electromagnetic and mechanical modelling. The researcher should be familiar with high-fidelity, three-dimensional modelling using popular software like Auto-CAD, SolidWorks, ANSYS, and JMAG. Recent projects should be highlighted in the application.
  3. modelling advanced materials and manufacturing techniques like additive manufacturing to explore the design alternatives. Having such experience and expertise would be considered for this role.
  4. a good understanding of control and drive methods for reluctance machines.
  5. prototyping the new parts and machines for physical lab-scale experiments, the researcher should be familiar with testbench setup (e.g., battery emulator and inverter/converter) and machine tests. Relevant experiences will be considered for this role.

Note that manufacturability and material sustainability will be challenged in this work.

Person specification

Applications are invited from individuals with a 1st or 2:1 (or international equivalent) in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering or related disciplines. A Master’s thesis or equivalent in Electrical Machines and industrial experience would be desirable.

We are seeking applicants with an excellent understanding of:

  1. Technology and relevant experience to develop new machine parts and topologies. Ideally, the candidate has already introduced and published new solutions in such SynRMs and DSSRMs.
  2. Electromagnetic, mechanical, and thermal analyses for high-speed (rotating) electrical machines, modelling and simulations using high-fidelity methods like 3-D FEM.
  3. Advanced materials and manufacturing solutions to develop novel electrical machines.
  4. Understanding of electric propulsion applications and their requirements.
  5. Setting up electrical machines testbench and electric drives for experimentations.
  6. Prototyping, testing, and validating methods to verify the developed novel electrical machine/s.


Please note that the available funding supports tuition fees at the Home/UK rate (currently £6,035 per year). Students who are eligible to pay fees at the UK rate are welcome to apply (e.g. UK students or EEA or Swiss nationals who are “settled” or “pre-settled” within the UK in accordance with the EU Settlement Scheme). Please refer to our website for further information about Home tuition fee eligibility.

International students who are eligible to pay tuition fees at the Overseas rate (currently £31,100 per year) are also welcome to apply, however the tuition fees covered by the studentship will be limited to the Home/UK level. International students will be required to find additional funding for the remaining Overseas tuition fees.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to meet UCL's English language entry requirements.

Please refer to this webpage for full eligibility criteria: Mechanical Engineering MPhil/PhD

How to apply

Eligible applicants should first contact Dr Pedram Asef (pedram.asef@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 Dr Asef, eligible applicants should also submit a formal PhD application via the UCL website.

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