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Additive Manufacturing of Hybrid Functional Composites

diagram of Additive Manufacturing of Hybrid Functional Composites4D printing employs 3D printing techniques to create materials that can transform their shape in response to stimuli like heat, light, or moisture. This innovation has led to the development of simple actuating shapes with programmable functionality, offering great potential in areas such as soft robotics, biomedical devices, and wearable technology. For instance, adaptable fabrics with programmable stiffness could enable advanced therapeutic functionality in exoskeletons. Despite the exciting possibilities, the field of 4D printing is still in its infancy, with limited stimuli and mechanically weak structures with slow response times. The lack of multi-scale sophistication in the design and modeling of actuators is also a challenge, making it difficult to create more complex designs. Moreover, the 4D printing platforms themselves lack the necessary precision to spatially control material composition and function at the nanoscale level, hindering the integration of designs from chemistry to mechanics on a macroscale.

One of the key aspects of the research will be synthesising and characterising the hybrid materials to determine the chemical, physical, and mechanical properties of the materials. This information will provide valuable insight into the materials' suitability for sensing applications. The next step will be to explore system design and integration to identify the best ways to integrate the functional materials into sensors to achieve the desired functional performance.

Overall, the success of the proposed research will depend on a deep understanding of the materials and their properties, as well as careful consideration of the processing parameters and integration techniques used. By developing innovative, hybrid materials for sensing applications, this research has the potential to contribute to a more sustainable future while also advancing the field of materials science.

Faculty: Engineering and Environment

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Principal Supervisor: Dr. Jibran Khaliq

Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project

  1. C Li, Y Meng, H Hou, A Zhang, J Khaliq, N Liao, C Fu, L Liu, H Du, Journal of the American Ceramic Society. 2023, 1-8
  2. G. Tselikos, S. Rasul, P. Groen, J. Khaliq, A solvent free additive manufacturing process for in-situ manufacturing and functionalisation of hybrid piezoelectric composites, Polymers, 13, (22) (2021) 3979
  3. E. Elnabawy, M. Farag, A. Soliman, K. Mahmoud, N. Shehata, R. Nair, I. Kandas, R. Atif, M. Combrinck, J. Khaliq, I. Shyha, A. Kilic, A. H Hassanin, Journal of Applied Polymer Science 138 (45), (2021) 51322
  4. J Khaliq, T Hoeks, P Groen, Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing 3 (3), 2019, 77
  5. C. Li, H. Xiang, M. Xu, J. Khaliq, J. Chen, L. Fang, Journal of the American Ceramic Society 101 (2), 2020 773-781
  6. J. Khaliq, J. A. C. Frescas, P. Vollenberg, T. Hoeks, S. van der Zwaag, P. Groen, Ceramics International, 2017, 43 (2), 2774


Eligibility and How to Apply


Applicants with degrees in Materials Science/Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Process Engineering or a related subject with a materials component will be preferred. Knowledge of fundamental electrical engineering is highly desirable. Students who are not UK/EU residents are eligible to apply, provided they hold the relevant academic qualifications, together with an IELTS score of at least 6.5. This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in design, materials and manufacturing. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

For more information and informal enquiries please contact Dr. Jibran Khaliq

Further details of the application process and entry requirements can be found here:

Deadline for applications: 1st December for March (following year) start; 1st July for October (same year) start.

Start Dates: March and October of each year

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