Ductile grinding mechanism and technology of brittle single crystals

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.

Brittle single-crystal materials must be shaped to have a high degree of precision and surface integrity to be functional as well as to retain strength. However, this class of brittle materials is often difficult-to-machine due to the nature of high brittleness. Ductile grinding, i.e. grinding in the ductile removal region, is a key process for machining them to high precision. Although ductile grinding has been widely investigated in the past three decades, few studies have paid proper attention to the removal mechanics in relation to microstructural diversity. Development of the process for grinding any emerging brittle material was conducted using the “trial-and-error” approach. Systematic injection of materials science is badly needed so that the potential of ductile grinding can be fully realized and manufacturing costs can be substantially reduced.

This PhD project aims to systematically investigate the ductile grinding mechanism of brittle single-crystal materials, to develop cost-effective grinding technologies for them. The specific objectives include (1)  understanding of the removal mechanism of the brittle materials, with a focus on the effect of microstructural diversity on the removal mechanics, (2) development of a model that can predict the ductile removal regime based on the simulated and actual grinding studies, by including the effects of microstructural diversity and grinding variation, and (3) establishment of a cost-effective grinding process, with the aid of ductility enhanced lubrication.

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)


Professor Han Huang

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

Email: han.huang@uq.edu.au

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 precision abrasive machining and materials characterization would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of grinding or abrasive machining and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of numerical simulation is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 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