PhD Studentship in Computational Mechanics of Porous Metallic Materials

By Stefan on April 13, 2015 in Research

We are looking for an enthusiastic person who likes mechanics of materials and is interested in: a) computational modeling, b) novel materials such as metallic foams, c) extreme loads such as impact and blast. Successful applicant will be enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Surrey. The student will play the central role in the collaboration between my group and our academic partners in the Germany, Finland, Chile and US.

The Project

Deformation of a metallic hollow sphere foam under local load.This project focuses on fracture and failure mechanism of metallic foams. The project will focus on extreme loads such as impact and blast. Metallic foam is lighter and does better in a crash than regular old metal or fiberglass. Check out the recent wired article on foam here.

Metallic foams also exhibit the potential to incorporate multi-physical features into a single component because voids provide lower thermal conductivity, enable extreme compressibility and allow for incorporation of other materials such as ceramics or polymers. Thus, multi-material components could allow for more economical, high-value components. Examples of applications include: shipbuilding components with high buoyancy, modular bridge decks, protective structures in secure facilities, but also advanced components such a front high-speed train cab made.

Stefan_lab_teachingThe goal of this project is to develop a failure model of a metallic foam material and to implement it in a commercial FEA code (LS-DYNA). Next, computer simulations will be employed for virtual prototyping of multi-physical applications with the focus on composite columns and sandwich panels. Experiments will be also conducted to validate and calibrate the developed computational and analytical approaches.

We collaborate with the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, Transportation Research Laboratory and the Highway Agency in the UK, universities in Chile and Finland, as well as academic partners at the University of Massachusetts and the Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Therefore, short visits in Germany and the United States may be included to facilitate academic and industrial training.

Person specification

You will have a background in Structural or Mechanical or a related field (e.g. Solid Mechanics) and an inquiring and rigorous approach to research together with a strong intellect and disciplined work habits. The enjoyment of discovery and risk-taking will also be helpful.


  • University degree, preferably (but not limited to) structural engineering, solid mechanics, mechanical engineering, physics, or computer science,
  • Interest to employ simulation tools such as LS-DYNA or ANSYS to develop and advance user defined material materials,
  • Familiarity with at least one programming language such as Python, Fortran, Perl, Java, C, or similar,
  • Sound background in solid and structural mechanics,
  • Excellent English, communication and team-working skills.


  • Familiarity with or willingness to use high-performance computing (HPC) using Linux and computer scripts for automation of repetitive tasks,
  • Willingness and/or prior experience with material testing (data acquisition e.g. using LabView and calibration of testing equipment),
  • Comfortable attitude to matrix algebra and math operations that are needed to describe material behavior under multi-axial loads.

This project offers an excellent opportunity to join a vibrant research group and to develop/learn computational mechanics with a focus on material model development for extreme load applications. The University of Surrey is the top 10 university in the UK according to the Guardian league table, and it is located in the sought after location in Guildford, with a fast-train connection (40min) to London.

The Award

The scholarship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,000 per year and UK/EU tuition fees for the duration of three years. This studentship is funded by the European Commission. This scholarship can be awarded to an overseas-fee paying student if the fee difference between the EU and overseas fee is funded by other sources. The studentship is for three years starting in October 2015.

How to apply

Please send your application to Dr Stefan Szyniszewski: s.szyniszewski AT

The application shall include: 1) covering letter (max 1 page) that explains how you satisfy project requirements; 2) detailed CV; 3) selected published work such as your journal and/or conference articles; copy of your MSc or BEng dissertations, 4) a copy of your current academic transcript,  5) names and contact information of at least two referees. You may also want to include copies of your awards and language certificates to enhance your application.

Please quote “EU/MetFoam” in your email subject and application.


This studentship will be supervised by Dr Stefan Szyniszewski. Informal enquiries before making an application may be addressed to: s.szyniszewski AT surrey DOT ac DOT uk

Closing date

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted directly to arrange a suitable time for an interview. Applications will be accepted until the position is closed.

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About the Author

StefanView all posts by Stefan
Assistant Professor and Structural Engineer at the University of Surrey, educated at the Johns Hopkins University. Simulated materials and structures to understand their behavior and optimize their functions.


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