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Discrete element modelling of the micromechanics of cracking in concrete

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  • Full or part time
    Dr G Gong
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Primary supervisor: Dr. Guobin Gong (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
Co-supervisor: Dr. Ryan Judge (University of Liverpool, UK)
Dr. Yuanfeng Bao (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
Dr. Stephen Wilkinson (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
Dr. David Liu (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)

Please email [email protected] and copy to [email protected] with a subject line of the PhD project title.

The recent dramatic increase in computational power available for mathematical modelling and simulation raises the possibility that modern numerical methods can play a significant role in the analysis of the micromechanics of granular composite materials like concrete. The peculiar nonlinearity that occurs in the fracture zone ahead of an opening crack makes the theory distinctly different from the range of problems in classical continuum mechanics. The main aim of this project is to investigate the cracking/fracturing behaviour of concrete using the discrete element method (DEM). This project will require a laboratory investigation of cracking of concrete structures. This will be followed by numerical analysis (DEM) of the cracking process using a number of different scenarios. The intention of this project is to identify the initiation and evolution of cracking from a microscopic point of view, with an attempt to explain macroscopic cracking behaviour.
For more information about doctoral scholarship and PhD programme at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU): Please visit

How to Apply:
Interested applicants are advised to email the following documents to [email protected] (please put the project title and primary supervisor’s name in the subject line).
- CV
- Two reference letters
- Personal statement outlining your interest in the position
- Proof of English language proficiency (an IELTS score of above 6.5 or equivalent is required
- Verified school transcripts in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
- Verified certificates of education qualifications in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr. Guobin Gong ([email protected]) whose personal profile is linked below:

The candidate should have a first class or upper second class honours degree, or a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification), in Civil Engineering or related fields. Previous experiences in numerical analysis (finite element method and discrete element method) would be advantageous. Evidence of good spoken and written English is essential. The candidate should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, or an equivalent qualification, if the first language is not English. This position is open to all qualified candidates irrespective of nationality.

The student will be awarded a PhD degree from the University of Liverpool (UK) upon successful completion of the program.

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship is available for three years subject to satisfactory progress by the student. The award covers tuition fees for three years (currently equivalent to RMB 80,000 per annum) and provides a monthly stipend of 3500 RMB as a contribution to living expenses. It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation in international conferences during the period of the award. It is a condition of the award that holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching assistance work per year. The scholarship holder is expected to carry out the major part of his or her research at XJTLU in Suzhou, China. However, he or she is eligible for a research study visit to the University of Liverpool of up to three months, if this is required by the project.

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