HDR Scholarship - Giving new life to scrap metals by advanced manufacturing

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Giving new life to scrap metals by advanced manufacturing'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP), Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Light weight alloys such as aluminum and magnesium are increasingly used in the automotive and aerospace industries. There is a need for recycling scrap material such as swarf from machining and other processes. Current recycling processes have a low material yield rate, reduce purity during remelting and require significant energy. On the other hand, current component manufacturing processes are inflexible and produce a lot of material waste.

Therefore, to make automotive and aerospace manufacturing sustainable new and flexible manufacturing technologies need to be developed that combined low waste with material re-use. The Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) is well placed to perform leading research in this space. There is access to a world-first Flexible Roll Forming (FRF) facility that enables the low costs and flexible manufacture of long components relevant to the automotive and aerospace industries with almost now waste. IFM is also the only research institution in Australia with access to MELD, a new solid-state metal additive manufacturing process. MELD enables the elevated temperature friction-based lay-by-layer deposition of a solid rod feed material onto a deposition plate. It can deposit scrap aluminum and magnesium swarf and recent studies by the Ford Motor Company (US) have shown that the technology allows deposition of stringers and other structural features on sheet metal. Therefore it is expected to combine two advanced manufacturing processes to produce complex geometries for automotive applications.

Project aim

This PhD project aims at combining IFM's FRF with MELD processes to develop new value added and weight optimized, multi material components that partly use recycled metal. Widespread application of FRF is currently limited due to wrinkling issues that occur in the flanges of formed components. One solution to overcome this issue could be to locally strengthen critical forming area by local MELD depositions to overcome such shape defects in the FRF process. Therefore, the impact of the proposed project is high since it broadened the applications of both technologies by adding circular economy principals

It is expected to achieve following milestones through the given methodology.

  1. To establish the optimum deposition condition.
    A set of experiments will be carried out with different levels of process parameters such as tool rotational speed, transverse speed, feed rate and layer thickness to find the optimum conditions.
  2. To understand the fundamentals of warping effect after deposition and to implement a method to overcome it.
    Heating and cooling cycles will be investigated to understand the reasons for the warping effect and possibility to form out the warping effect in the follow up FRF operation will be considered.
  3. To establish a method to obtain the maximum bonding strength.
    A shear test will be introduced to evaluate the bonding strength of the base metal and the deposited metal interface. The optimum deposition condition is achieved with respect to the maximum bonding strength.
  4. To identify the component complexity that can be achieved.
    Based on the output of the above milestones, a set of part families will be identified that can be manufactured with the proposed combined advanced manufacturing techniques.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 29 October 2021.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,900 per annum tax exempt (2022 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate currently residing in Australia. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Please apply using the Find a Research Supervisor tool


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Buddhika Abeyrathna or A/Prof Matthias Weiss.

Dr Buddhika Abeyrathna
Email Dr Buddhika Abeyrathna
+61 3 524 79567

A/Prof Matthias Weiss
Email A/Prof Matthias Weiss
+61 3  522 73368