Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites and Textile Reinforced Mortar (TRM) materials represent an effective retrofitting strategy for the rehabilitation of masonry and concrete structures. Typically, debonding of an FRP strip from the substrate is a brittle phenomenon involving the support, with the removal of a thin layer of bricks and mortar, and roughly ruled by an initial linear elastic behaviour followed by marked softening, due to the detachment of the strip from the substrate. Several recent and less recent studies, mainly based on experimentation, sophisticated numerical modelling and theoretical approaches, just focus on this topic. The re-elaboration of the experiences collected on this topic allowed to conceive dedicated technical recommendations, as in Italy with the CNR DT 200 - technical code on FRP reinforcement applied to concrete and masonry.
The debate on the application of FRP composites in general and C-FRP in particular for the rehabilitation and seismic upgrading of historical masonry structures or existing buildings is however still open, some authors raising doubts on the long-term efficacy and cost of the intervention when compared with traditional techniques. The major drawback seems however related to the reversibility issue, which is nowadays considered a priority for any seismic upgrading with innovative materials.
In order to be consistent with such conservation requirement, part of the scientific efforts have been recently channelled to an alternative – appearing more reversible – innovative strengthening systems, such as Textile Reinforced Mortars TRMs. Apart from open issues related to reversibility, durability and vapour permeability of FRP strips, from a strictly structural point of view, the application of FRP on masonry walls and arches is certainly very interesting. The project focuses on the development of advanced analytical and numerical models of innovative reinforcement materials, such as Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) and Textile Reinforced Mortars (TRM), to improve the adhesion of strengthening composites when applied to masonry.
The project offers a unique opportunity to carry out a high-quality research project in collaboration with several recognized universities, such as the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and the University of Florence (Italy). The project will be coupled with experimental laboratory tests to enable the calibration and development of the advanced modelling approaches.
Research activities within the civil engineering degree programmes at Brunel cover a wide ranging and diverse field of topics. Academic staff involved within these programmes investigate the management of urban waste, bio-based building products, and natural fibre composites in construction. They also develop an understanding of the behaviour of structures under extreme conditions such as fire, impact and seismic loadings and find solutions to coastal engineering problems such as coastal wave dynamics and coastal resilience against natural hazards such as storm surges, tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides.
Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.
A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.
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