Supervisory Team: Tim Waters, Tom Cherrett
As part of the National Health Service’s drive to become carbon net zero by 2040, there is a mandate to embrace more sustainable modes of transport such as pedal assist cargo cycles, autonomous ground vehicles and drones. The latter have also been shown to offer effective access to remote areas where land-based distribution proves too costly and/or time consuming. Trials involving the movement of patient diagnostic samples by drone have demonstrated their potential to significantly reduce the overall bleed-to-diagnosis time for patients. However, there has been a growing realisation that vibration and shock exposure due to drones differs significantly from conventional modes of transport which might adversely affect the stability and efficacy of medical cargoes. Furthermore, standard medical packaging is not designed specifically to isolate drone vibration and may even accentuate it. It is vital to address these problems to provide scientific evidence to inform the appropriate regulatory bodies as to the conditions under which transportation by drone is safe and effective.
This PhD will undertake fundamental new research to quantify the effects of vibration from drones and other unconventional transport modes on the stability of various medical products. The research will involve designing and undertaking laboratory tests under controlled conditions in specialist testing facilities. Live trials will also be conducted on medical products transported by fixed wing and multi-copter drones which will be compared against traditional road and air transportation. Guidelines will be developed for minimising harmful vibration, particularly in relation to the design of medical packaging and its installation in the vehicle.
The project will involve collaboration with drone, cargo bike and pharmacy manufacturers through the EPSRC E-Drone and DfT Future Transport Zone projects to acquire the necessary data and arrange bench and field trials.
You will join the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at the University, an internationally renowned and vibrant research community which has been advancing the understanding of noise and vibration and its mitigation for nearly 60 years. You will also be affiliated to the Transport Research Group in the School of Engineering who have specialist expertise in transport logistics.
If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Tim Waters, Dynamics Research Group, Email: [email protected] or Prof Tom Cherrett, Transportation Research Group, [email protected]
You will have a first or upper second class degree in mechanical, acoustical or aeronautical engineering. A proven track record in acquiring and processing experimental data is essential and a firm foundational understanding of vibration is highly desirable. However, masters level training will be available in vibration engineering, signal processing and related topic areas.
Closing date : Applications should be received no later than 1 September 2021.
Funding: For UK students, tuition fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years
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