Example dissertation projects

Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Systems Management [MSc]

At the final stage of the MSc, the dissertation project takes a variety of forms and may be of an analytical, computational, design or experimental nature. The majority of the projects are linked to longer term ongoing research programmes.

Here you can find some examples of past dissertations projects.

Profiling of blankholder force in deep drawing

Supervisor: Dr J Atkinson

Deep drawing is a sheet metal forming process. It has been found that varying the blankholder force (BHF) during deep drawing can improve the part quality. However, there has been considerable disagreement between researchers as to the appropriate shape for BHF profiles.

This project focussed on determining guiding principles for designing an appropriate BHF profile for a given drawing process. Experiments were performed on a modified press, wherein different BHF profiles were tested and the effects compared.

The results indicated a critical draw depth range. If the BHF is lowered sufficiently in this range, the chances of failure due to tearing are minimised. The critical draw depth range can be found from a given condition of maximum BHF required for wrinkle suppression, and maximum constant BHF value that does not cause tearing.

Heat management in a high brightness light emitting diode

Supervisor: Dr J Methven

The finite element method was used in this Dissertation project to model the temperature developed in a particular HBLED under different driving currents. A 1-W (350mA) Cree X-lamp was used as the source. The model showed good agreement with the experimentally measured temperatures and has provided a good foundation for the design of unobtrusive heat sinks for luminaires based on HBLEDs.

This is one aspect of a separate, Joule Centre funded project which is concerned with energy consumption in these devices and includes the design of efficient constant current drivers.

Further information  

Laser micro-melting of compressed stainless-steel powder disks for next generation fuel cell manufacture

Supervisor: Prof L Li

Fuel cells are becoming increasingly important as the commercial possibility of using hydrogen as energy storage medium comes closer to reality. In this project, done in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, the possibility of doing selective laser surface melting of pressed stainless steel disks was examined. The disks are a critical building block for fuel cells construction. They are manufactured by powder metallurgical techniques. The most appropriate size for the feed powder has to be determined. This will depend critically on the ease with which the rough, pressed surface can be melted, and the thickness and properties of the melt zone can be tailored. Initial experiments using an excimer laser have already established feasibility.

This project aims at doing the experimental work to enable the prediction of melt layer thickness, degree of oxidation, and other relevant properties as function of laser parameters, for a number of disks prepared with different powder sizes.

Further information  

Failure modes woven ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) used in racing car brakes

Supervisor: Prof D Hayhurst


  • Identification of mechanical failure mechanisms in CMCs in Formula 1 racing car disc brake
  • Categorisation of thermal failure mechanisms
  • Coupling between thermal degradation and mechanical straining.

Modelling Studies:

  • Characterisation of composite using bundles of fibres, inner and outer matrices
  • Stress-strain response for a uni-directional tow model
  • Predictions for the stress-strain response of woven composites based on tow model
  • Identification of key failure mechanisms for transverse heat flow
  • One-dimensional transverse heat flux model for unidirectional tow
  • Prediction of degradation of the transverse thermal conductivity for woven composites

Further information  

An investigation of heat partition and tool wear in hard turning of H13 tool steel with CBN cutting tools

Supervisor: Dr M Sheikh

This was one of the many MSc projects successfully completed in the last few years. These projects have been part of our on-going research on simulation of high speed machining processes which requires finite element modelling of heat partition, temperature distribution, cutting forces and tool wear in machining of many industrially important materials with uncoated and coated tools.

This particular project presented results of an investigation into the tool life and the tool wear behaviour of low content CBN cutting tools, used in hard turning of hardened H13 tool steel. The approach followed required both experimental work and finite element thermal modelling.

Further information  

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