© The University of Sheffield

Dr Julian Merino-Perez

Graduated 2016

I started my Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in 2012; coming from Spain to live in the UK for the first time was a big change, and I was made to feel very welcome by the IDC, the AMRC and my industrial sponsors, Sandvik Coromant.  My project was investigating the effect of resin on tool wear in carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) drilling. The engagement from my industrial sponsor was excellent from the start and I really appreciated how they approached the research topic and encouraged me to publish as much as I could. 


The first year of the EngD is a training year, so the focus was on academic courses, three mini projects and personal and professional development training prior to approaching my main research topic. I spent over 50% of my time in Sandvik Coromant's office, which enabled me to engage with my colleagues and get used to a genuine aerospace-focused R&D research facility. During my second and third years, I really enjoyed the freedom I was given to approach my research topic, always with support and guidance from my three supervisors, academic, AMRC and industrial. Most of the advances in my EngD research occurred during this time, where I was able to publish 4 journal papers (3 of them in TOP 3 composite journals). 


The part of my project I enjoyed the most was attending international conferences on composite science and technology; (16th European Conference on Composite Materials ECCM16 and 20th International Conference on Composite Materials ICCM20). Despite machining not being (initially!) a low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) research activity, the freedom I got to steer my project enabled me to conduct fundamental research to present work at those conferences. Apart from the academic output, I was able to engage and meet with top researchers in the area and expand my contacts network, which today allows me to establish collaborative work with other institutions and bid for EPSRC grants.


My fourth year was very intense; the first half consisted of conducting experiments to validate my thesis, which also included the publication of another peer-reviewed journal article. During the second half, I focused on writing up the thesis, a task that I eventually managed to finish (after many iterations!). In order to prepare my viva, I was able to join courses and seminars that helped me to a great extent, especially Viva Survivor by Dr Nathan Ryder, a really focused and inspirational one. 


I successfully passed my viva with minor amendments (really minors, only took me a week to do them). My EngD experience was the best possible one, and I extend my thanks to the IDC staff and my fellow IDC students, the University of Sheffield and AMRC staff and Sandvik Coromant staff, who made the experience a top one.


Now I work at the AMRC Composite Centre's Composite Machining stream on a range of diverse projects, such as the feasibility of using robots for high-precision machining of complex composite parts, the development of specific cutting fluids for composite machining, the impact of cross-linking degree and temperature on the machinability of composites. The experience and skills I acquired during the EngD allowed me to approach industry-relevant research projects understanding the fundamentals of composite machining, provided me with expertise in using specific equipment for composite machining research and gave me the opportunity to grow my network in the advanced manufacturing world.

  • Merino-Pérez, J.L., Royer, R., Merson, E., Lockwood, A., Ayvar-Soberanis, S. and Marshall, M.B. (2016). Influence of workpiece constituents and cutting speed on the cutting forces developed in the conventional drilling of CFRP composites. Composite Structures. DOI 10.1016/j.compstruct.2016.01.008 


  • Merino-Pérez, J.L., Hodzic, A., Merson, E. and Ayvar-Soberanis, S. (2015). On the temperatures developed in CFRP drilling using uncoated WC-Co tools Part II: Nanomechanical study of thermally aged CFRP composites. Composite Structures. DOI 10.1016/j.compstruct.2014.12.035


  • Merino-Pérez, J.L., Royer, R., Ayvar-Soberanis, S., Merson, E. and Hodzic A. (2015). On the temperatures developed in CFRP drilling using uncoated WC-Co tools Part I: Workpiece constituents, cutting speed and heat dissipation. Composite Structures. DOI 10.1016/j.compstruct.2014.12.033


  • Merino-Pérez, J.L., Merson, E., Ayvar-Soberanis, S. and Hodzic, A. (2014). The applicability of Taylor’s model to the drilling of CFRP using uncoated WC-Co tools: the influence of cutting speed on tool wear.  Int. J. Machining and Machinability of Materials, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.95–112. DOI  10.1504/IJMMM.2014.064683


  • Merino-Pérez J.L., Hodzic, A., Merson, E. and Ayvar-Soberanis, S. (2015). Induced thermo-mechanical damage in the drilling of thermoplastic-toughened CFRP composites.  In: Proceedings of 20th International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM20), Copenhagen, 19-24 July 2015. DOI 10.13140/RG.2.1.4499.5682


  • Merino-Pérez, J.L., Ayvar-Soberanis, S., Merson, E. and Hodzic, A. (2014). The influence of heat during short ageing periods on the mechanical properties of CFRP composites.  In: Proceedings of 16th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM16), Seville, 22-26 June 2014. DOI 10.13140/2.1.2416.7368