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Development of fast running engineering models for predicting structural response and failure under blast loading


   Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

  , Prof Genevieve Langdon  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Sheffield United Kingdom Civil Engineering Structural Engineering

About the Project

Near-field explosions impart blast loads that are extremely high in magnitude and non-uniformly distributed across the face of the structure. Incidents like the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 in 2015 (224 casualties) highlight the need for engineers to better understand how structures respond to blast loads, in order to better protect infrastructure and transportation systems and to ultimately protect lives.

Currently, assessment of protective systems under blast loading requires the analyst to either perform: experiments; detailed, bespoke, high-fidelity numerical modelling; or simplified engineering-level analyses. Such methods are either prohibitively expensive, time-consuming, or lack the accuracy and rigor to inform detailed design. There is a need, therefore, to be able to accurately predict structural response to blast loads in a manner that matches the accuracy of physics-based approaches whilst retaining the simplicity and low-expense of engineering-level methods.

This project will use a combination of numerical/optimisation techniques (to generate large datasets) and advanced statistical/regression techniques or machine learning approaches to derive physically-valid predictive models from this data. These models will incorporate effects such as explosive configuration (mass and stand-off), as well as material parameters such as span, support conditions, thickness, material type and strength, etc.

The candidate should have a background in engineering and (high strain-rate) structural mechanics/dynamics, with experience in computer programming and finite element simulation. You will be joining The Blast and Impact Research Group at The University of Sheffield, with 4 academic staff members, 3 postdoctoral researchers, and 13 PhD students. The Blast and Impact Research Group has decades of research experience into the mechanisms of loading arising from explosion events and their subsequent effects on structures and materials. Our goal is to determine the underlying mechanisms involved in the loading and responses arising from explosion and impact events with a view to improving the safety of people and infrastructure at risk. Our work balances fundamental scientific research and real-world impact, allowing us to play a key role in the development of new solutions to protect people and structures against the damaging effects of high explosive blasts.


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