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Development of Smart Memory Alloy with Enhanced Structural Performance under fire (Advert Reference: SF18-2/MCE/GONZALEZ SANCHEZ)

Project Description

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are special materials with a substantial potential for various structural engineering applications. The novelty of such materials lies in their ability to undergo large deformations and return to their un-deformed shape through stress removal or heating (shape-memory effect). Shape memory alloys have varying thermal and mechanical properties, including super-elasticity, shape-memory effect, and hysteretic damping. These properties could be utilised to substantially enhance the structural and fire performance of buildings. Although the high cost of producing SMAs is still limiting their use, research investigating their production and processing is expected to make it more cost-competitive and emerge as an essential material in the construction industry.

One of the leading steel material used in construction is hot finished carbon steel fibre. However, carbon steel begins to lose its strength at temperatures of above 300°C and reduces in strength at steady rate up to 800°C. Also, the recent innovation for the lighter weight cold formed steel, decreases its strength at even a more rapid rate pass 300°C (Lawson & Newman 1990). Furthermore, in addition to the reduction of material strength and stiffness, steel displays significant creep phenomena at temperatures over 450°C. Hence, the need to develop the new shape memory alloys with enhanced structural and fire performance.

The aim of the project is to develop smart memory alloys with enhanced structural and fire performance. This project investigate the fundamental characteristics of SMAs, the constitutive material models of SMAs, and the factors influencing the structural and fire properties of SMAs. The developed alloys can be used in a number of structural applications, including fire safety of buildings, reinforcement and repair of structural elements, bolted joints, bracings and prestress applications.

This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in novel alloy development and mechanics. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

Please note eligibility requirement:
* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]) in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry or Engineering.; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirement and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18-2/MCE/GONZALEZ SANCHEZ) will not be considered.

Start date: either 1 March 2019, 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project.

The principal supervisor is Dr. Sergio Gonzalez Sanchez


S. González, P. Pérez, E. Rossinyol, S. Suriñach, M.D. Baró, E. Pellicer, J. Sort. Drastic influence of minor Fe or Co additions on the glass forming ability, martensitic transformations and mechanical properties of shape memory Zr-Cu-Al bulk metallic glass composites. Sci. Tech. Adv. Mater. 15 (2014) 035015.

Y Dias, P Keerthan, M Mahendran (2018) Predicting the fire performance of LSF walls made of web stiffened channel sections, Engineering Structures 168, 320-332

M Imran, M Mahendran, P Keerthan, (2018), Mechanical properties of cold-formed steel tubular sections at elevated temperatures, Journal of Constructional Steel Research 143, 131-147.

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