Proportions of the energy dissipated during deformation of particulate materials are converted to heat and sound. The high-frequency (>10kHz) component of this sound energy is called acoustic emission (AE). AE monitoring offers the potential to sense particle-scale interactions that lead to macro-scale responses of granular materials. AE is widely used in many industries for non-destructive testing and evaluation of materials and systems; however, it is seldom used in geotechnical engineering, despite evidence of the benefits, because AE generated by particulate materials is highly complex and difficult to measure and interpret.
The aim of this PhD is to develop discrete element modelling (DEM) for AE generation in granular media. The objectives are: (1) to develop a DEM approach that simulates AE generated by a suite of particle-scale mechanisms (e.g. particle-particle interactions such as sliding and rolling friction and particle contact network rearrangement); (2) to validate the approach using experimental data (e.g. triaxial tests); (3) to simulate AE generation by a range of soil strength and deformation behaviours; and (4) to develop new AE interpretation methodologies.
The successful candidate will join the ‘Listening to Infrastructure’ research group, which is developing continuous, real-time acoustic emission (AE) monitoring systems that can be distributed across geotechnical infrastructure assets (e.g. buried pipelines, foundations, retaining structures) to sense soil and soil/structure interaction behaviour, and provide early warning that will enable targeted and timely interventions.
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific or engineering discipline.
A relevant Master's degree and / or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: computational mechanics, soil mechanics, solid mechanics, numerical modelling, geotechnical engineering