Research Fellow (Micromechanics) - School of Metallurgy and Materials

University of Birmingham
United Kingdom
£31,406 to £37,467
Closing date
May 22, 2022

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Science, Physical Sciences and Engineering, Materials Science
Full Time
Organization Type
University and College
Jobseeker Type
Academic (e.g. 'Lecturer')
Position Details

School of Metallurgy and Materials in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £31,406 to £40,927, with potential progression once in post to £43,434. PLEASE NOTE: As this vacancy has limited external funding the maximum salary that can be offered is £37,467 per annum

Grade 7

Full time

Fixed-term until 30 April 2024

Closing Date: 30 May 2022


Joining the project 'Multiscale Modelling of Adiabatic Shear Band Initiation', funded by the EPSRC, the post holder will focus on developing computational methods to study Adiabatic Shear Band (ASB) initiation in metals.

Adiabatic Shear Bands (ASBs) are micron-wide regions of very large shear deformation that appear in metals and alloys subject to very high rate dynamic loads (e.g., ballistic impacts). ASBs are largely unpredictable, as they grow from poorly understood thermo-plastic instabilities. Their sudden appearance while in-service invariably leads to the catastrophic failure of aerospace systems. Equally, ASB formation dominates high-rate manufacturing (machining, additive manufacturing): efficiency calls for the sort of high rate loads that tend to introduce undesired ASBs, greatly weakening the manufactured piece below specification. This project will address the causes of this unpredictability, improving current understanding and modelling methods.

Joining with our partners at DSTL and Alloyed, the project will combine several state-of-the-art materials modelling techniques (dislocation dynamics, molecular dynamics, crystal plasticity) to develop a new modelling protocol with which to predict ASBs initiation in metals. This ambitious project will establish a new modelling paradigm for ASB, rooted in the explicit treatment of inertial and thermal effects at the mesoscale; this promises to revolutionise materials selection strategies for in structural aerospace applications, and to optimise manufacturing operations of metallic systems prone to ASB. Once developed, we will use the protocol to study the microstructural causes of adiabatic shear band formation in hexagonal and cubic metallic systems, and guide materials selection to determine the most desirable microstructures with which to avoid or promote ASB formation.

The role will focus on the development of a new computational tools with which to understand thermo-plastic instabilities leading to ASB formation at the micron (grain & subgrain) scales of target metallic systems (W, Al, Ti6Al4V). This work will rely on implementing a re-formulation of discrete dislocation dynamics to account for thermo-elastic effects at the microscale; appropriate multiscale rules will be derived from molecular dynamics studies of dislocation generation and motion. The postholder will develop the computational tools, and interface them with commercial software packages such as Abaqus and LAMMPS. New modelling methods of grain boundary sliding and dislocation generation will be developed, including machine learning approaches to aid the interpretation of datasets. As this will be a key aspect of the role, experience in code development (Python, C++, Fortran) and/or numerical analysis broadly understood will be beneficial. Prior experience with linear elasticity, molecular dynamics or continuum plasticity modelling methods will also be advantageous.

The postholder will work closely with the project partners to link simulation tools to experimental data and support the research group, including supervision of students.

Summary of Role
  • Work within specified research grants and projects and contribute to writing bid
  • Operate within area of specialism
  • Analyse and interpret research findings and results
  • Contribute to generating funding

Main Duties and Responsibilities

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlines below.
  • Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with assistance of a mentor if required
  • Contribute to writing bids for research funding
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc.
  • Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance on PhD students where appropriate to the discipline
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
  • Undertake management/administration arising from research
  • Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research related administration
  • Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews
  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research
  • Deal with the problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
  • Promotes equality and values diversity acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture

Person Specification
  • High level analytical capability
  • First degree in area of specialism and normally, a higher degree relevant to research area of equivalent qualifications.
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources affectively
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
  • Contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project
  • Co-ordinate own work with other to avoid conflict of duplication of effort
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly

Informal enquires to Dr Benat Gurrutxaga-Lerma , email:

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

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