HDR Scholarship - Flexible roll forming of automotive structures

PhD scholarships are available for cutting-edge research into lightweight multi-material and functional structures as part of the ARC Training Centre in Lightweight Automotive Structures. 

The centre brings together leading academic and industry researchers from RMIT University, Deakin University and Australian National University with key partner Ford and a consortium of local and international industry organisations.

Research topic

PhD Scholarship in flexible roll forming of automotive structures.

Project aim

Deakin is setting up the world’s first Flexible Roll Forming (FRF) facility to form long sections of both variable width and variable depth parts for BIW structural members. 

FRF is an extension of the conventional roll forming process, and represents a cost-effect alternative to hot stamping automotive crash and structural components. However, the limits of the process in regard to part complexity and metal alloys that can be formed is still unknown, restricting the widespread application of the process. 

The major aim of this project is to verify the manufacturability of automotive components by FRF that are variable in depth and of high complexity, and to develop automotive part geometry guidelines for the identification of part families that are suitable for the process and can be formed with minimum tooling requirements. 

Of secondary focus is the investigation of the forming of complex part shapes by combining FRF with Ford's free forming tool. The general approach will be to manufacture the initial longitudinal shape by FRF followed by the forming of small and complex regions with Ford`s free forming tool; this will permit the reasonably rapid forming of overall shape in long parts such as pillars, rocker reinforcements and roof rails.

This project is in collaboration with the Ford (Global) Motor Company, Australian Roll Forming Manufacturers (a local special sections roll forming company), data M sheet metal solutions (a world-leading developer of advanced roll forming design software in Germany) and Shape Corp (a leading supplier of roll formed components to the automotive industry in the USA).

The student will be expected to spend extended periods of time in Germany and the USA, while their main office will be situated in Geelong, Australia.

Value and duration


  • A stipend of $31,298 (2017 rate) per annum tax exempt
  • Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for international students for the duration of 4 years


  • Stipend 3 years
  • Tuition fee waivers for 4 years (for international students)

Important dates

Opening date

Now open

Closing date


Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full-time and hold an Honours degree (First Class) or a Master's degree with a substantial research component in a related field. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.

How to apply

Please contact Dr Matthias Weiss via email

If you wish to discuss your research interests and project proposal before applying, please contact Dr. Matthias Weiss via email or phone (+61 3 5227 3368) or A/Prof Bernard Rolfe via email.