PhD Studentship in Metal Additive Manufacturing for Space Propulsion
University of Southampton School of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
United Kingdom

Location: Highfield Campus
Closing Date: Saturday 31 August 2019
Reference: 1158219DA
Project Reference: AACE-Astro-572



A unique opportunity for UK & EU residents to undertake a fully funded PhD studentship in the internationally recognized Astronautics Research Group in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at the University of Southampton under the supervision of Dr. Angelo Grubisic. The studentships cover tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend for a three-year programme. Additional funding will also support participation in international conferences, summer schools and workshops, research equipment and visits to project partners. Entry requirements include a Bachelor degree (minimum high upper second class) in Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science, any other Applied Science or a related subject. Experience in the space industry or metal printing industry is highly valued.


The PhD subject area is the development and testing of new thruster technologies such as a novel high performance refractory metal resistojet thruster to enable a new generation of spacecraft for telecommunications, which are able to use fully all-electric propulsion architecture configurations and avoid the use of hydrazine, to reduce cost and increase payload. The project will be in collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technology, a world leading manufacturer of satellites. After the PhD, you can expect to be in demand from space agencies, prime contractors and OEMs such as ESA, UK Space Agency, Airbus DS, SSTL, Thales, QinetiQ and SMEs. The project is highly interdisciplinary requiring: coupled multiphysics modelling including; manufacturing with advanced materials and processes including selective laser melting additive manufacturing of high temperature heat exchangers; post manufacturing verification through CT analysis and multiphysics simulation; thruster validation performance testing and vibration testing with measurement diagnostics.

The PhD position will be hands on experimental development and testing focussed within the David Fearn Electric Propulsion Plasma Physics Laboratory, with supporting computational engineering. You can expect to gain an expert knowledge of electric propulsion systems and the skills to develop, manufacture and test new thruster technologies for space propulsion. You will have advanced knowledge of diagnostics, data acquisition systems, metal 3D printing and materials. As is an increasingly major theme of our activities, our research also focuses on enabling greater potential value and application by integrating additional engineering or systems functionality within a single component.


e Aeronautics and Astronautics Department is one of the most successful engineering departments in the UK and boasts an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, as well as strong links with industry. The PhD research will be conducted working within a wider research team comprising of academics, post-doctoral researchers, and technical staff, over a period of 3 years.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact name, Dr. Angelo Grubisic Research Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2319.

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