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TWI’s Pedro Santos Completes PhD

Fri, 22 January, 2021

TWI senior project leader in friction and forge processes, Pedro Santos has completed his PhD.

Pedro originally received his MSc degree in mechanical engineering from the Faculty of Science and Technology at the New University of Lisbon. The research for his MSc was focused on friction stir welding parameter optimisation for the production of tailor-welded blanks for lightweight transport applications. This work was undertaken as part of an industrial placement with TWI and was sponsored by Innovate UK as the Lightblank project.

This led to his PhD, co-funded by Industrial Members of TWI as part of the core research programme alongside Coventry University. The research this time was focused on the development of refill friction stir spot welding (RFSSW) for lightweight applications in the aerospace sector (in particular). Pedro’s PhD Viva presentation was held virtually on 14 December 2020 and he was awarded a ‘pass/approved with minor corrections’ by examiners, which he now needs to submit by 19 February 2021.

We asked Pedro how TWI and the National Structural Innovation Research Centre (NSIRC) helped with his studies:

“The way TWI and NSIRC have arranged the PhD programmes, with a suitable monthly stipend and tuition fees covered by TWI, allowed for me to contemplate the possibility of pursuing this milestone in my professional career,” Pedro explained. “On top of that, there is the possibility of being integrated in a team of experts in your field, who are able to advise you on best practices to conduct your research and allow for exciting discussions on the novel outcomes from your project,” he added.

He continued, “I was very fortunate to have Dr Joao Gandra as my industrial supervisor through my MSC and PhD research, who dedicated a significant amount of his time to support me through the whole programme. A special thanks to Dr Anthony McAndrew for the thought-provoking discussions regarding my research as well as professional career and Dr Steve Dodds who pushed tirelessly for my professional development and qualification.”

Pedro explained that his studies have already helped him in his work, having joined the friction and forge processes section of TWI as a senior project leader in June 2020, where he manages the delivery of RFSSW projects and promoting industrial uptake of the technology.

He revealed, “The understanding that I acquired on this welding process through my doctorate has already allowed me to support TWI’s Industrial Members through ongoing research projects.”

Pedro was also keen to highlight the role played by the NSIRC programme in supporting his studies, “The NSIRC programme offered me an unparalleled opportunity to further enhance my education while allowing me to develop my professional skills by being integrated in an industrial/business environment” adding, “I can’t recommend this programme enough.”

We would like to congratulate Pedro on his PhD and you can find out more about the support and opportunities offered by the NSIRC programme here.

For more information please email: