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An acoustic analysis tool for detecting hydrogen gas in sealed pressurised storage packages and containers


   School of Engineering

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  Dr P Holborn  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The aim of the project is to develop an acoustic analysis tool suitable for characterising and detecting accumulated hydrogen gas in sealed pressurised storage packages and containers. Flammable hydrogen gas, generated through the action of radiolysis and corrosion reactions, can readily accumulate in, and pressurise the sealed product packages (cans and drums) that are present at Sellafield and other nuclear plants in the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) estate. If undetected, such flammable gas hazards could pose the risk of an explosion occurring when the package is processed or moved – disrupting operations.

The researcher will help develop a suitable test rig and carry out experiments to characterise the acoustic response of representative containers filled with gas mixtures over a range of different compositions and pressures. The resulting acoustic vibration measurement data will be analysed to obtain correlations and build models (e.g. by applying machine learning techniques) to relate the observed acoustic behaviour with the gas concentration and pressure inside the container. This information will then be used to develop a tool/algorithm, which can be used on nuclear sites, for detecting the presence of pressurised hydrogen in a container, whilst providing information on its likely composition and pressure. The work will therefore help to maximise the efficiency of package handling operations whilst ensuring worker safety and protection for the surrounding environment.

The successful candidate will join an active research team, under the supervision of Dr Paul Holborn, and Dr James Ingram within the Explosion and Fire Research Group at LSBU and an Industrial Supervisor from Sellafield Ltd. The project will offer the opportunity to work closely with Sellafield Ltd, attend NDA research events to interact with other researchers, and develop a career working in the nuclear industry.

Candidate Requirements

The candidate should hold, or expect to obtain, at least an upper second-class (2:1) honours degree by September 2021 in a relevant discipline such as Physical Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical/Process Engineering, or Applied Mathematics, and be able to demonstrate the ability and desire to set-up experimental systems and put theory into practice. Evidence of an interest and experience in electronics, acoustics or machine learning would also be an advantage. 

The Award Detail

This 3 year studentship provides a tax-free stipend allowance of up to £17,666 per annum, subject to eligibility criteria. The funding will in addition cover the amount of tuition fees associated with UK-based students. Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Paul Holborn by email: [Email Address Removed]. Interested parties should apply, sending their CV and cover letter. Applications will be accepted until 30th July 2021.


Funding Notes

This 3 year studentship provides a tax-free stipend allowance of up to £17,666 per annum, subject to eligibility criteria. The funding will in addition cover the amount of tuition fees associated with UK-based students.
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