Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

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

   School of Engineering

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr P Dunning, Dr S Sriramula  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

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. The objectives are to extend the types of uncertainties and performance criteria considered in the framework, so the approach can be applied to a wider range of practical problems.

Selection will be made on academic merit. The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Mechanical / Civil / Aerospace engineering. Essential knowledge and skills: structural mechanics, fibre reinforced composites, finite element analysis, computer programming. Desired knowledge and skills: structural reliability analysis, optimisation methods.


Formal applications can be completed online:

• 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, Personal Statement/Motivation Letter and Intended source of funding

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

Engineering (12) Materials Science (24) Mathematics (25)

Funding Notes

This PhD project has no funding attached and is therefore available to students (UK/International) who are able to seek their own funding or sponsorship. Supervisors will not be able to respond to requests to source funding. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting


Omairey, SL, Dunning, PD & Sriramula, S, 2019. Multiscale surrogate-based framework for reliability analysis of unidirectional FRP composites. Composites Part B: Engineering, 173, 106925.
Omairey, SL, Dunning, PD, & Sriramula, S, 2020. Multi-scale reliability-based design optimisation framework for fibre-reinforced composite laminates. Engineering Computations. 38(3), 1241-1262.
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.