Optimum Design of a Low-Cost High-Endurance Adjustable and Expandable Transtibial Passive-Foot Prosthetic

Coventry University

Mechanical, Aerospace and Automotive Engineering

Project Description

Applications are invited for a research studentship in the field of Biomechanical Engineering-Prosthetics, leading to the award of a PhD degree. The studentship is for three and a half years starting September 2021/January 2022. The studentship is financed by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The PhD project targets the unmet need of a low-cost, expandable and adjustable transtibial (Below-the-Knee) prosthetic, exploring low-cost manufacturing processes of low-cost but high-endurance materials, such as composites with fibre-reinforced resins. This need yields from the fact that existing low-cost passive-foot prosthetics are of a fixed size thus not suitable for long-term use by children or teenagers, whose body is still growing. Noted, in Low/Lower-Medium Income Countries (LMICs), roughly 30M people need prostheses.

The project will develop an optimised novel passive-foot prosthetic. The endurance will be studied using industry-standard CAE software (explicit dynamics simulations) and will concern axial, oblique, side-impact and fatigue loadings. Topology Optimization procedures towards the minimum-weight and minimum cost of the design will be developed. Experimental validation of simulations will also be conducted. It is aspired that a prototype will be manufactured and experts will be asked to test and evaluate the prototype.

The project is a collaboration between Coventry University (UK), Alchemie S&P Limited (UK) and the National Technical University of Athens – Manufacturing Technology Division (Greece).

The PhD will be based in the Transport Safety and Simulations (TSS) Group at the Coventry University – Institute of Future Transport and Cities (IFTC). The TSS Group is dedicated to modelling, verification, analysis and testing of transport-related systems. IFTC has a unique position, with over 130 research staff and 140 PhD research students who perform both fundamental and applied research, and offers a vibrant and multicultural working environment. IFTC brings together world class expertise in disciplines across engineering, manufacturing, computer systems and business studies.

Funding Information

Tuition fees, plus stipend (UKRI rate). Possible allowance for conferences etc.
To find out more about research at the Institute of Future Transport and Cities, Coventry University, please visit this link.

Eligibility Requirements

The successful candidate will be enthusiastic and self-motivated and will meet the academic requirements for enrolment for the PhD degree at Coventry University. They will have a background in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering, or a related field, together with a strong intellect and an enquiring approach to research.

Excellent use of industry-standard CAE software (i.e. LS-Dyna, Abaqus or Ansys) for explicit dynamics simulations, as well as MatLab/Optimization Toolbox, is required. Experience in organising and running experiments related to axial or oblique crashing of tubes would be very advantageous. Excellent team-working, analytical and communication skills are also essential. The studentship will provide the opportunity to become a skilled communicator, comfortable in an international environment at a world-leading institution.

Application Process

For information on how to apply online, please visit: https://pgrplus.coventry.ac.uk/

For further details of the post, please contact Dr-Ing Demetrios T. Venetsanos at [email protected]. Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae on the above e-mail address citing “GCRF – PhD Studentship” in the email title. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an application form in order for their qualifications to be addressed by the Doctoral College Registry.