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Development of inspection techniques for non-sharp defects (NSIRC 172a)

  • Full or part time
    Dr C Nageswaran
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description


The science of fracture mechanics, and hence the engineering assessments based on fracture mechanics, assume a sharp crack is present. This approach is conservative, sometimes overly so, for real defects such as porosity, mechanical or corrosion damage, weld defects, or certain design features including crevices in partial penetration welds. These defects have non-sharp defect tips and an increased resistance to fracture compared to an equivalent component containing a sharp crack.
To take advantage of this increased fracture resistance in the latest structural integrity assessment techniques, it is necessary to measure the radius. From an inspection viewpoint, this poses a significant challenge as it is not currently possible to distinguish between sharp (e.g. fatigue) cracks and non-sharp defects and to produce accurate shape descriptions. Recent developments [1-4] show promising opportunities for creating new capabilities for improved structural efficiency of safety-critical assets. These methods were pioneered at the University of Bristol (UoB) and have yet to be exploited for design and structural integrity applications and therefore further experimental testing and validation is required. This is an exciting opportunity to work in a highly motivated and vibrant research intensive group as well as spending time at a leading industrial institute in the field, TWI Ltd.
You will be working as a member of a solid mechanics group at the University of Bristol, a world-renowned research team in the field of Structural Integrity. During your studies you will be working in developing and testing NDE techniques both at TWI and University of Bristol. You are expected to be highly computer literate and able to learn using software such as finite element to simulate your experiments.
Candidates interested in fracture mechanics, non-destructive valuation methods and structural analysis and optimisation and ‘hands on’ experiments are encouraged to apply. The candidate will be co-supervised by Dr Channa Nageswaran (TWI) and Dr Nicolas Larrosa (UoB) and will spend 1/3 of his/her time in UoB and 2/3 in TWI. Candidates should ideally hold a first/upper-second class degree or masters (MSc) in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Physics.


NSIRC is 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.

Candidate Requirements

Good ability in experimental solid mechanics and a grasp of computer coding (e.g. Matlab).
Ability and willingness to travel nationally and internationally.
Willingness to conduct the research between the University of Bristol and TWI, Cambridge.
Candidates should have a relevant 1st class honours degree/ expected to receive or an equivalent overseas degree in Physics, Maths or an Engineering Discipline. 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.

Funding Notes

Funding Notes

This project is funded by TWI and academic partners. For Home students, a £24k per annum scholarship is available which will cover tuition fees and provide a competitive enhanced STIPEND of £16-20kper annum for the duration of three years.

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