Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Mohammad Uddin

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
30 Jan 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$29,863 p.a. available to domestic and international applicants

About This Project

Improve synergistic metal additive manufacturing using computational modelling

Seeking to make a difference in the field of additive manufacturing and interested in harnessing computational modelling to address contemporary problems in this space? The University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a project-based PhD with industry impact within UniSA STEM and the Future Industries Institute, in partnership with QPE Advanced Machining.

Metal additive manufacturing, for example EBM (electron beam melting), DMD (direct metal deposition), PBF (powder bed fusion), is a process of repeated high thermal cycles of melting (heating) and solidifying (cooling) metal powder particles layer by layer. Resulting internal microstructural and internal residual stress of one layer affects the formation of the next layer, which eventually dictates the mechanical properties (e.g., hardness, fatigue) of final parts and the outcome (e.g., surface integrity) of secondary post-processing afterwards. 

Due to the nature of the process and limitation of instrumentation, it is experimentally quite challenging to measure and assess the in-situ thermo-mechanical characteristics. The additive manufacturing (AM) industry thus operates well below optimum levels of process capability. 

Computational modelling is an inexpensive alternative for predicting the behaviour of complex AM processes once it is built with appropriate properties, physics and mechanics. 

This project aims to develop an efficient, reliable computational modelling framework for synergistic additive manufacturing combining EBM and in-situ inter-layer plasticity burnishing, hence enhancing their service life. 

We aim to build a numerical model for EBM to predict microstructure and residual stress in each layer, and build a numerical model for in-situ plasticity burnishing to alter microstructure and residual stress in each layer. We also intend to combine both aspects of modelling to develop an efficient computational modelling framework for EMB and experimentally validate the framework for reliability in an industrial setting.

You will join an enthusiastic cohort within UniSA STEM and the Future Industries Institute, and gain access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and tools. There will be many opportunities for you to collaborate with industry partners and external stakeholders and start building a strong professional network. 

The project will expose you to EBM technology, processes and practice in a real-world industry setting. Importantly, you will access and use UniSA’s HPC platform, Gadi, to build and implement the computational model

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will perform an extensive literature review to develop background knowledge in AM process mechanics, material properties and plasticity burnishing, and build a numerical model for EBM and plasticity burnishing using computational software (e.g., Abaqus). 

Then, you will perform experiments for model validation and compare and analyse results and write reports/manuscripts. Occasionally, you will need to undertake an industry visit.

Upon completion, you will possess extensive fundamental knowledge on the EBM process, characteristics, issues and postprocessing by plasticity burnishing, and have high level know-how in developing a numerical model by integrating process mechanics and material properties. 

You will have unique skills in using industry-adopted computational software package such as Abaqus to implement industry-focused problems, and be able to use and operate advanced mechanical and surface characterisation equipment.

We will support and encourage you to attend national and international conferences in the areas relevant to the project to disseminate the findings and start forging collaborative links. 

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in UniSA STEM and the Future Industries Institute (FII) which was established with a new research culture in mind – one deeply engaged with industry, with the end goal of building economic growth through relevant innovation and industry partnership.

The Institute reflects the University’s strategic ambition to be Australia’s University of Enterprise which engages fully with the professions and industry globally, whose research is informed, leading edge and relevant. FII continues to forge national and international research partnerships in new industries and technologies that address real world issues. Our goal is to support a creative and engaged culture and to help develop a sustainable ecosytem in which innovation, complex, growth-focused industries thrive.

FII's research supports state and national research priorities and comprises top research teams able to collaborate across disciplines and to work with industry partners to deliver innovative solutions.

With a vibrant research environment, a strong industry orientation, and active international and national links, both academic and industry based, the Institute is among the very best in Australia and attracts and retains leading researchers.

Supervisory Team

Financial Support 

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses.  Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $29,863 per annum is available to eligible applicants. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally applicants must meet the projects selection criteria: 

  • Must have prior knowledge and experience in computational modelling of materials, mechanical and manufacturing process using Abaqus or similar software package. Background in additive manufacturing will be given high priority.
  • Must have degrees in mechanical or manufacturing (e.g. additive manufacturing) or material engineering discipline
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

Essential Dates 

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Monday, 30th January 2023.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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