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  Assessment of crack arrest behaviour of modern structural steels


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  Dr M Ali  Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

Fracture mechanics based Fitness-For-Service (FFS) assessment of engineering structures is normally based upon the failure criterion which is the initiation of crack extension by brittle fracture or ductile tearing at specified temperatures. The philosophy behind crack arrest is that if a crack initiates in a region of high stress or local embrittlement, it will be arrested in the surrounding material to prevent failure of the entire structure. The basic, simple idea for ensuring crack arrest is that the materials must have sufficient crack arrest toughness to ensure that fast propagating cracks, initiated in regions of low toughness and/or high stress, are arrested after they emerge from the critical zone. Obviously, during the design stage of ships, pipelines and some specific pressure vessels, analysis of crack arrest is of vital importance. The effect of temperature is another factor that needs to be taken into account in the course of the assessment of crack arrest or during design against crack arrest.

The aim of the PhD project is to derive empirical models which can be used to define crack arrest toughness from small test specimens (i.e. Charpy tests). It is also proposed to investigate and quantify the differences between the crack initiation and arrest toughness of two types of steels to be selected and link these differences with the microstructure. If required, numerical modelling techniques will be incorporated to understand crack arrest behaviour by analysing crack tip conditions in relation to a particular microstructure under specified loading.

A number of fully-funded PhD scholarships are available for suitable candidates with a strong interest in fundamental and applied research in the area of structural integrity. Scholarships cover an amount to £16,000 per annum for 3 years, Home/EU tuition fees and support for research. Overseas applicants are welcomed, with total funding capped at £20k/year.

Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in mechanical, Electrical/Electronics or Civil/Structural Engineering, Material Science, Metallurgy or Physics. Candidates with suitable work experience and strong capacity in numerical modelling and experimental skills are particularly welcome to apply. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 6.5) if applicable.

To apply, please send your CV and transcript of university study, with a cover letter specifying your interest and research topic to the following email address: [Email Address Removed]
Please direct general enquiries to: [Email Address Removed]

NSIRC will be a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with lead academic partner Brunel University, the universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Loughborough, Birmingham, Leicester and a number of leading industrial partners. NSIRC aims to deliver cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners.

For more information about The National Structural Integrity Research Centre, visit

 About the Project