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Fatigue and Fracture Mechanics based Mechanical Design Optimisation

   Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

About the Project

The aim of this PhD project is to experimentally and numerically investigate the fatigue and fracture behaviour of heavy industrial equipment working in challenging environments. This project will contribute to the sustainability effort by optimising the materials used and reducing downtime of equipment due to unexpected early failures within the safe design life of the structure. Additionally the efficiency of the equipment used in mining etc. fields will be enhanced with lighter construction and an extended life.

 Heavy industrial machines are typically constructed from structural steels of various grades or cast steel alloys. Manufacturing processes typically involve welding and heat treatment. The material has complex material properties that need to be optimised for a particular application. For example the fatigue fracture crack growth rates in various environments as well as the fracture toughness of the material help understand how likely a mining machine would fail with a fracture failure mode. Various factors complicate the fracture mechanics analysis, such as the presence of residual stresses and the environmental effects such as operating temperature and corrosion. Novel fatigue and fracture mechanics testing methodologies for material property evaluation will be explored. Numerical simulation techniques for fatigue and crack propagation will be investigated. High performance computing platforms will be used in a multidisciplinary approach to optimise components in a robust framework for enhanced product life and reduced material use. This is an ideal opportunity for applicants with a great research interest in combining materials knowledge, experimental testing and numerical simulation for a high impact industrial application.

The primary supervisor will be Dr Tugrul Comlekci, Principal Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. The secondary supervisor will be Prof Donald Mackenzie. Dr Yevgen Gorash, Research Fellow, will also be involved in the supervision of this project. The student will be part of a larger research group linking the industrial partner to the University of Strathclyde, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

The candidate should have a good mechanical engineering solid mechanics as well as a materials science background and be familiar with finite element simulation software, for example ABAQUS or ANSYS. Familiarity with experimental structural analysis techniques for example fatigue and fracture mechanics testing will be an advantage.

Funding is provided for an excellent student with a 2.1 Class BEng Honours or MSc (or equivalent) awarded within the Mechanical Engineering or a closely related discipline, with a proven commitment to the field of study. The applicants need to demonstrate excellent organisational, interpersonal, verbal and academic writing skills.

The project is due to commence on 1st October 2022 and the duration is 36 months. This opportunity is for full-time study. The applicants will be short listed and interviewed by the supervising team and the industrial partner project management team.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Strathclyde Research Studentship Scheme Research Excellence Award (SRSS REA), National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and our industrial partner. The project is additionally supported by the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Advanced Materials Research Laboratory. The funding covers an enhanced stipend of £19000 and home (UK) fee, relevant experimental equipment and material costs, conference and technical visit travel costs as well as training in relevant software and equipment.


Please contact Dr Tugrul Comlekci (t.comlekci@strath.ac.uk) for informal enquiries and formal applications. Formal applications must be emailed to Dr Tugrul Comlekci (t.comlekci@strath.ac.uk) and should include:
(i) Cover letter,
(ii) An up-to-date CV,
(iii) 2 appropriate academic references, signed, on headed paper and dated (within the last 6 months),
(iv) Transcripts for all qualifications whether awarded or ongoing (including an overall degree classification and officially translated, if necessary),
(v) If English is not your native language, a copy of your English language qualifications (IELTS).

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