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  EPSRC PhD Studentship in: Investigating the Effect of Soil Conditions on Pipeline Infiltration


   Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

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  Dr Tiago Gaspar, Prof S Tait  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Water Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience

EPSRC PhD Studentship in: Investigating the Effect of Soil Conditions on Pipeline Infiltration

Stipend: This post will fully cover university tuition and provide a tax-free stipend for 4 years for UK students of £18,622 per year (rising each year in line with the UKRI rate).

Closing Date for Applications: 18 August 2023

Start Date: 25th September 2023 (contract duration 4 years)

The mechanisms affecting relative soil-pipe movement and consequent loss of watertight integrity in shallow, jointed pipes are not well understood. Groundwater infiltration into jointed sewer and drainage pipelines leads to severe consequences, e.g. reducing the pipe flow capacity to deal with storm loads leading floods and frequent overflow discharges.

Seasonal fluctuations in soil water content can cause soils to swell or collapse which can lead to opening of pipe joints and increased infiltration. Additionally, changes in soil stiffness and strength due to variations in water content affect the ability of soil to support jointed pipelines under operational loads. Drainage and wastewater pipelines are typically installed at shallow depths due to ease of access for maintenance purposes. As a result, 1000’s of kms of pipelines are located in soils which are unsaturated for large portions of the year, and are especially susceptible to changing environmental conditions. For this reason, issues related to moisture-induced ground deformations are expected to worsen with the effects of climate change which are forecasted to result in more extreme wet and dry seasons.

In this PhD project, you will investigate the behaviour of jointed pipelines embedded in soils subjected to wetting and drying cycles and operational loadings. The focus of this work will be full-scale physical modelling at the world class National Distributed Water Infrastructure Facility at the University of Sheffield’s Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research Centre (ICAIR). Experimental work will incorporate the use of sophisticated measurement techniques such as fibre-optic sensing and the use of high-capacity tensiometers developed at the University of Sheffield. This physical modelling will also be complemented by element testing to allow for a thorough investigation of soil-pipe interaction.

The research programme will be undertaken as part of EPSRC’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience (CDT WIRe). WIRe is a collaboration between three leading UK Universities. Students will benefit from working across both the water and geotechnical groups and will develop a broad skill set across buried infrastructure and climate change effects. Students are supported by a bespoke training scheme delivered by world leading experts from academia and industry. CDT WIRe is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community, and offer a range of family friendly, inclusive study policies. For further information on the CDT WIRe scheme visit the web site at: https://cdtwire.com/

The project will be supervised by Dr Tiago Gaspar and Professor Simon Tait.

Eligibility Criteria

This studentship is supported by EPSRC WIRe CDT and the University of Sheffield. It is open to all students with UK residency.

The selection criteria for the position are:

Essential

• Strong academic skills in the field of soil mechanics or a similar discipline.

• Enthusiasm for research.

• Ability to communicate in written and oral formats.

Desirable

• Previous laboratory/experimental experience.

How to apply

Interested candidates should email a covering letter and their Curriculum Vitae to Lindsay Hopcroft ([Email Address Removed]).

For information and informal enquiries please contact: Tiago Gaspar ([Email Address Removed]).

Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13)

Funding Notes

Stipend: This post will fully cover university tuition and provide a tax-free stipend for 4 years for UK students of £18,622 per year (rising each year in line with the UKRI rate).
Eligibility Criteria
This studentship is supported by EPSRC WIRe CDT and the University of Sheffield. It is open to all students with UK residency.
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