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Discrete Multiphysics modelling of self-healing infrastructure materials

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Alexiadis
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The Objective.
Develop a complete virtual environment, based on a computational approach known as Discrete Multiphysics, that can be applied to assess the behaviour and durability of infrastructure materials such as concrete, asphalt, or masonry and enable the design of a new class of self-healing materials. Initially, asphalt will be used as a model material and its cracking and healing modelled. Later the study will be generalized to other porous infrastructure materials such as concrete and masonry.
The problem.
Infrastructure materials are porous media constantly subjected to a variety of stresses such as mechanical loading, thermal and radiation cycles, environmental moisture and chemicals dissolved in the moisture. The addition of self healing capabilities to these materials has the potential to significantly reduce repair and maintenance costs. Dr Garcia (UoN) is working towards the design of microcapsules that contain healing agents and can be used to make self-repairing asphalt roads [1]. A comprehensive methodology for assessing the effect of the stresses and self-healing at the material level would be an invaluable tool for designing more efficient self-healing materials.
The approach.
The behaviour of infrastructure materials is often investigated on the basis of common basic principles such as thermal expansion, gas and liquid diffusion, deformation, and fracture. There is a range of continuum and discrete simulation methods that can investigate these phenomena separately, but have limitations addressing the complexity arising from their simultaneous effect. The only exception, to the best of our knowledge, is the Discrete Multi Physics (DMP) method, developed by Dr Alexiadis at UoB [2], which will be used in this project.
The candidate.
Applicants require a 2:1 or higher MEng Honours degree in Chemical, Civil, or Mechanical Engineering, Physics or in a related subject area. Good background in transport phenomena is essential; specific interest or previous work in fluid mechanics and/or particle methods (e.g. Molecular Dynamics or Discrete Element Method) would be an advantage.

Funding Notes

Joint scholarship from the University of Birmingham (UoB) and the University of Nottingham (UoN). The scholarship applies to-EU/UK nationals only. Non-EU nationals can apply but are required to cover the difference between international and EU fees (~£15,500/y) themselves. Email: [Email Address Removed], [Email Address Removed]


[1] Al-Mansoori, T., Micaelo, R., Artamendi, I., Norambuena-Contreras, J., Garcia, A., (2017) Microcapsules for self-healing of asphalt mixture without compromising mechanical performance, Construction and Building Materials 155: 1091-1100.
[2] Alexiadis A., (2015) The Discrete Multi-Hybrid System for the simulation of solid-liquid flows PLoS ONE 10(5): e0124678

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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