From nanotechnology to vehicle and aero-technology, our research scales the full range of engineering disciplines to support manufacturing industry worldwide. Research degrees in Mechanical Engineering are offered through three research specialist centres: Biomedical and Microengineering; Manufacturing Processes, Technology and Modelling; and Vehicle Technology.

Key facts

Type of Course: Doctoral research

Duration: PhD: 3 years full-time; MPhil: 1 year full-time (Part-time equivalents are available)

Start date: Contact the School directly for further information


Biomedical and Microengineering

This centre brings together our expertise in two growth areas with the aim of exploring how they benefit each other. Facilities include a dual beam focused ion beam (FIB) system with a field emission scanning microscope. This instrument is capable of ion machining and deposition of a wide range of materials (both metals and insulators) down to the nanometre scale. It is, therefore, a very useful tool for nano-fabrication and analysis.
There are seven members of academic staff in the centre and the facilities are housed in purpose-built, modern accommodation. Collaboration with the School of Chemical Engineering provides cell culture facilities for tissue engineering.
Current research concentrates on:

* Development of implants and associated surgical instrumentation
* Mechanical properties of natural tissues related to risk of failure and the effects of surgical technique
* Scaffolds for tissue engineering
* Micro-fluidic systems for 'lab on a chip' applications
* Resonant pressure micro-sensors
* MEMS for radio-frequency communications
* Microengines

We are very interested in applications from students who would like to work at the interface between biomedical and microengineering.

Manufacturing Processes, Technology, and Modelling

This centre combines expertise in:

* Machining
* Metal forming
* Casting
* Modelling, including geometric modelling of surfaces
* Continuous improvement/quality systems
* Manufacturing systems and assembly

There are eight members of academic staff in the Centre, which has excellent facilities for experimental work and a wide range of software for computer modelling of machining, casting, and metal forming. On the modelling front, use of the Gleeble mechanical property simulator enables appropriate stress-strain data to be incorporated with subsequent validation on industrial scale machine tools, whether involving cutting or forming. Collaboration with the School of Metallurgy and Materials and major funding by Rolls Royce, ESI, IBM and TSB, has enabled access to leading-edge software (DEFORM, PROCAST and SYSWELD).
The Centre houses one of the UK's main laboratories for machining research with the latest equipment for high-speed milling (HSM), creep feed grinding and electrical discharge (ED) machining encompassing die sink/milling, EDWM, EDG and EDT configurations. The facilities are able to accommodate conventional and microscale operations involving a wide range of workpiece materials and interaction with leading edge machine tool and tooling suppliers such as Matsuura, Hardinge Bridgeport, Agie-Charmilles, Element Six, Iscar, Saint Gobain etc.. Underpinning this research are extensive residual stress, fatigue evaluation, sample preparation/metallography, and metrology resources.
Other centre activities include geometric modelling of surfaces following 5-axis machining with different cutter path routines, continuous improvement evaluation via control charting, quality standards issues, quality costs and experimental design techniques and the analysis of manufacturing systems, including simulation of modular assembly.
Metal-forming research uses industrial scale equipment, and our casting capability is the best in any UK university full facilities exist for investment (including single crystal), precision sand, low pressure sand and die, tilt and counter gravity casting processes.
Current research involves:

* Machining of advanced aerospace alloys and composites (nickel-based superalloys, titanium alloys and carbon fibre reinforced composites
* Micro-scale machining using HSM, micro-ED wire, ED-die sink and ultrasonic techniques
* New/novel advanced processes development/evaluation for the production of aeroengine components
* Use of CFD, FEA and other computational techniques for simulating manufacturing processes
* Data analysis, reduction and segmentation for describing irregular topologies and for reverse engineering
* Forging of miniature/micro components
* Hot stamping with cold die quenching
* Quality costing as an improvement tool
* Multi-criteria optimisation in reliability
* Industrial experimental design techniques
* Integrated business management systems
* Reliability modelling of manufacturing processes
* Knowledge management

Vehicle Technology

There are six members of academic staff in the centre with an additional seven emeritus and honorary staff. Its research involves:

* Future power systems
* Vehicle dynamics
* Power transmission
* Automotive safety

In addition, one member of the centre works with the inter-disciplinary Railway Research Centre on control of rail traffic.
Future power systems research specialises in power plant, especially for automobiles, covering:

* Fuel reforming for on-board generation of hydrogen
* Homogeneous charge compression ignition
* Alternative fuels, particularly biofuels and their properties
* Diesel and biodiesel fuel pre-treatment, combustion and exhaust after-treatment
* Emission and process gas analysis for environmental considerations
* Advanced and miniature Wankel engines

Facilities include: single-cylinder thermal and optical engines, advanced gasoline and diesel engines, and laser and mass-spectroscopy diagnostics.
Vehicle dynamics research covers:

* Tyre dynamics
* Vehicle ride and handling
* Vehicle structural dynamics
* Internal noise

Facilities include a four-post vehicle dynamics rig.
Power transmission research concentrates on non-metallic transmission drives.

UK requirements for international applications

Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.



Ensure your qualifications meet our entry requirements for research degrees

To gain admission to a research degree programme (with the exception of the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine (MD)) an applicant must comply with the following entry requirements:

* Attainment of an Honours degree (normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent) in a relevant subject awarded by an approved university, or
* Attainment of an alternative qualification or qualifications and/or evidence of experience judged by the University as indicative of an applicants potential for research and as satisfactory for the purpose of entry to a research degree programme.

In addition:

* Admission and registration for a research degree programme may be conditional on satisfactory completion of preliminary study, which may include assessment.
* In some cases you will also need to have completed a Masters degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject.

Please note

* Entry onto many programmes is highly competitive, therefore we consider the skills, attributes, motivation and potential for success of an individual when deciding whether to make an offer.
* Specific entry requirements are given for each programme. Any academic and professional qualifications or industrial experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases form an integral part of the entrance requirements. If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated in the online prospectus, please contact the relevant school or department to discuss whether your application would be considered.
* After we have received your application you may, if you live in the UK, be invited for an interview or to visit us to discuss your application.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL iBT® test: 93

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


Scholarships and studentships Currently we provide support for five or six UK/EU research students a year from a variety of sources, together with part-funding for two to three highly qualified overseas research students. Other sources of funding are the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), the European Union and industrial funding for UK and EU students.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

See the University of Birmingham Website for more details on fees and funding.

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