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Advanced design of fibre reinforced composites - using multiscale reliability analysis and optimisation

School of Engineering

About the Project

This project aims to advance the design of components made from fibre reinforced composite materials, by combining techniques in multiscale analysis, structural reliability and design optimisation.

Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are widely used in many engineering applications due to their unique characteristics, such as high strength to weight ratio. Uncertainties are present in all engineering systems and the traditional approach to designing under uncertainty is to use safety factors. The full benefits of FRP are often not realised in practice due to conservative safety factors arising from a lack of understanding of how uncertainties affect performance. Uncertainties in FRP components exist at several scales that interact: micro-scale (e.g. bonding of matrix and fibre, volume ratio, matrix voids, cracks), ply level (e.g. fibre alignment, thickness), component level (e.g. curing, geometry).

Reliability based design is an alternative to safety factors, where a probabilistic approach is used to evaluate the probability of failure under uncertainties. Multiscale analysis methods have been developed that can account for the effect of the micro-scale material configuration on the macro-scale component performance. Optimisation is a powerful tool in engineering design, as it can be used to find the best design that satisfies all the requirements. This project will build on a recently developed multiscale reliability-based optimisation framework to create a method that can design efficient and reliable fibre reinforced composite components.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) the UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Mechanical / Civil / Aerospace engineering or Maths.. It is essential that the applicant has a background in structural mechanics, fibre reinforced composites, finite element analysis, computer programming.

Experience in structural reliability analysis, optimisation methods would be advantageous.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr P Dunning (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

It is possible to undertake this project by distance learning. Interested parties should contact Dr Dunning to discuss this.

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT


Omairey, SL, Dunning, PD & Sriramula, S 2019, 'Multiscale surrogate-based framework for reliability analysis of unidirectional FRP composites', Composites Part B: Engineering, vol. 173, 106925.

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