ARC Training Centre - PhD Scholarship


ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites

Process-Property Optimisation Research Program

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC) will develop the next generation of industry-focused innovators and researchers in the field of advanced composites manufacturing for industry. The Centre is a collaboration between leading research organisations; the Australian National University (ANU), the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The Centre also involves several industry partners representing several high-performance industry sectors, including defence, aerospace, automotive and elite sport. The main aims of the Centre are to:

  • Provide industry-focused research training to a generation of composite manufacturing innovators
  • Promote integrated innovation in composites manufacture, from material design to product realisation
  • Incorporate key Australian composites innovations into the automated manufacturing process chain
  • Foster strong collaborations between Australian universities and a host of global organisations
  • Enhance Australia’s R&D capability in the field of advanced composite manufacturing

The Centre is seeking applicants for a PhD on automated manufacture of metal-composite hybrids, as detailed below, to be based at ANU. A tax-free scholarship of AU$31,298 is available to successful candidates for 3 years, with a possible 6-month extension. It is a condition of the scholarship that the successful applicant accumulates 1-year of industry-based research training with one or more of the AMAC industry partners during their candidature. The partners for this project currently include the Ford Motor Company, AFPT GmbH and TU Munich.


PhD Project Title

Optimisation of laser-assisted automated fibre placement (AFP) for manufacture of metal-composite hybrids


Project Background and Description

The application of laser tape placement of thermoplastic composite (TPC) materials to the reinforcement of metallic components could enable manufacturing of high-value, lightweight hybrid structures in a flexible and efficient process. Hybrid sheet metal/carbon fibre epoxy reinforced structures have demonstrated good crash performance for automotive structures and offer significant weight saving potential. Compared with conventional thermoset composites, TPCs are tough and typically have specific impact energy absorption an order of magnitude higher. One possible avenue for rapid and flexible manufacture metal/TPC hybrids is to adapt the near infra-red (NIR) laser automated (robotic) fibre placement (AFP) process, which can heat and consolidate TPCs in less than one second.

This project will develop a production-viable AFP process for reinforcement of metallic components with automated placement of unidirectional TPCs. The research will include investigation of surface texturing of metal substrates for optimal laser absorption and metal composite bond quality; metal-composite interaction with possible adhesive inclusion and/or treatments; thermal modelling and measurements of the bond line temperature history to understand the effects of process parameter settings; and analysis of process constraints, limits of geometrical complexity for automotive part manufacture and cycle times.


Application Process

Applications should be submitted through the ANU Apply Online Portal by 18th September. The application should consist of a CV, a statement addressing the selection criteria, a nominated supervisor (Professor Paul Compston); transcripts, graduation

certificates and testamurs of previous tertiary study. Three referees must also be nominated. When choosing the scholarship type, please select other then enter ARC Training Centre Scholarship.

Enquiries: Professor Paul Compston, E:



PhD Candidate Selection Criteria

  • Bachelor (Honours) or Master degree in Mechanical, Materials or Manufacturing Engineering; at 1st class or upper second class level, or equivalent
  • Demonstrated research capability (e.g. through thesis work ) in the area of fibre composite materials
  • Evidence of industry experience relevant to the proposed field of study
  • Demonstrated ability to create impact for industry partners
  • Highly developed design, analysis, experimental and modelling skills for composite materials
  • Highly developed interpersonal, communication and management skills


AU$31,298 per annum

Application date

Opening date: 23 Aug 2017
Closing date: 18 Sep 2017


3 years, with a possible 6-month extension


Domestic or International


Updated:  8 September 2015/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing