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Four-year EngD scholarship with the National Composites Centre: Continuous Fibre Composites – Fatigue Behaviour Prediction

Project Description

Faculty of Engineering (University of Bristol)

National Composites Centre, Bristol (BS16 7FS)

£20,450 p.a

Continuous fibre composite materials provide an outstanding combination of strength, stiffness and weight and their behaviour under static loading is well understood and able to be accurately predicted using simulation. However, their behaviour under fatigue loading is less understood and, although there are many theories about how their behaviour may be predicted, there are currently no known independently verified fatigue simulation tools available for composite materials. This results in overly conservative design and/or inspection and maintenance procedures being used in the Design Process. A usable process is required for predicting the fatigue behaviour of continuous fibre composites, so that they can be used with confidence and less conservatism in structures subject to fatigue loading.

The overall objective of this EngD is to provide a verified methodology for accurately predicting the fatigue life of continuous fibre composites and support the use of best practice design procedure/s when using continuous fibre composites. This will benefit both society and the composites industry by improving confidence in using composites in structures subjected to cyclic loading, thus enabling lighter and cheaper designs to be used.

In the first 12 months the EngD will initially research, investigate, review and document the State of the Art (SOA) in the prediction of fatigue behaviour in continuous fibre composites. It is envisaged that the EngD will then use the results from the previous activity to identify and select one or more material systems plus the coupon level test/s required to provide the test data needed as “benchmark” input to a fatigue simulation methodology. The EngD will then perform these coupon level benchmark tests. In parallel with the testing activity, it is envisaged that the EngD will use the SOA findings to identify, assess and select Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software suitable for simulating the fatigue behaviour of continuous fibre composites. This software will then be used to predict the results of the coupon level benchmark tests (pre-test simulation) and compare the test results with the simulation predictions (post-test simulation and model “calibration”).

Finally, at the end of the first year it is envisaged that the EngD will have completed the work outlined above and will provide a report comparing the test results with the simulation predictions and including an outline of the strategy for future years, which will enable a verified numerical strategy for predicting the fatigue life of continuous fibre composites to be delivered.

PLEASE NOTE: Applications are considered as soon as they are received, and the position will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

How to apply: If you are interested in applying for this EngD project please send your CV, covering letter and academic transcript to

About the IDC and the EngD programme:
For further information about the IDC and the EngD programme please visit:

Funding Notes

Candidate requirements:
Applicants with ‘home student’ status and holding or about to graduate with a first or 2.1 degree in structural or chemical engineering, materials science or physical sciences.

Stipend: £20,450k p.a.
Standard EPSRC studentship eligibility criteria apply: View Website

How good is research at University of Bristol in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 123.38

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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