Developing free-machining titanium alloys through additive manufacturing

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

A PhD position is available as part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project titled “Transforming titanium component fabrication with free machining additives”.

Australian manufacturers of titanium products face grand challenges in affordably machining precision components because titanium is expensive, inherently difficult to machine and most designed parts require significant machining, all of which exacerbates cost. This project aims to overcome these impediments by discovering new alloy additives that can be introduced locally during additive manufacturing (AM) of titanium products in order to make machining operations easier and faster without affecting the quality of the final product. The knowledge gained from this project seeks to create new capabilities and improve the productivity of Australian manufacturers while lowering the cost of products for consumers.

This PhD project seeks to improve the machining characteristics (machinability) of titanium alloys by designing and introducing new compounds into titanium alloys during AM. These compounds, termed ‘free machining’ inoculants, seek to fundamentally enhance the chip fracturing process during machining to reduce the cutting forces and heat generation which offers many benefits including improved productivity. By exploiting fast-freezing AM processes , entirely new free machining compounds are possible and can be selectively introduced only to regions that require machining, allowing the bulk component to remain unaltered and thus ensuring no detriment to the end product quality.

The successful applicant will work with a team of experienced researchers and develop expertise in titanium metallurgy and alloy design, additive manufacturing (particularly wire arc additive manufacturing), metal machining (milling and turning) and materials characterisation techniques including advanced electron microscopy. The successful applicant will also have the opportunity to develop skills and experience in working with the team as a paid tutor (in addition to the stipend) in mechanical and materials engineering courses within the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Dr Michael Bermingham

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of materials engineering would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of materials engineering (or equivalent field) and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of metal solidification, alloy design and materials characterisation techniques is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2023. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process