The project will focus on the process of “Granular Wear”, which occurs when moving objects through granular materials. Granular wear is a significant issue in mining and civil applications when ground engaging tools are repeatedly pushed through soils, rocks and ores in a fragmented form. Interfacial contact forces cause rapid wear and eventually the failure of equipment components. While this issue costs billions every year, the nature of these forces and their abrasive action remain poorly understood.
The goal of the proposed research is to advance the fundamental understanding of granular wear and address the following questions: What causes it? How can we best mitigate it? Towards this aim, the candidate will perform and analyse controlled laboratory experiments using photoelasticity and X-ray radiography, and/or numerical simulations based on the discrete element method. These wear tests will cover different combinations of alloy types, grain types and mechanical loadings. Our microscopy facility will enable quantification of the resulting abrasion. These results will then be used to develop analytical models of abrasion rate that are both physically-based and experimentally validated.
The research will take place at the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Sydney. The candidate will work under the direct supervision of three experienced academics: Dr Rognon, Dr Marks or Dr Proust, who have extensive experience in Granular Physics and Materials Science. The candidate will be part of SciGEM, which is a vibrant scientific group (about 12 academics and 30 HDR students) with a wide range of expertise in Granular Physics and Material Sciences, and a strong culture of collaborative work. The candidate will benefit from existing state-of-the art experimental facilities and in-house numerical simulation codes.
We are looking for highly motivated candidates holding an Honours or Masters level Degree in Physics, Mathematics, Materials Science or Engineering. Master of Philosophy and relevant professional experience will be appreciated. Key applicant attributes include:
• Willingness and ability to work in a team on a multi-disciplinary project. • Being self-driven. • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. • Experience in programming tools (Matlab, C++, Python…). • Willingness to conduct experimental works including designing and building experimental devices, as well as running and analysing tests.
How to Apply
Please send an email with your CV and a short cover letter outlining your background and motivation to Dr Pierre Rognon: [email protected]