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Investigating the thermo-mechanical response of reinforced concrete structures to combined blast and thermal loads

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L Clough
    Dr D Begg
    Dr S Barnett
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2019.

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying and will be supervised by Dr Laurie Clough, Dr David Begg and Dr Stephanie Barnett.

Project description

The thermo-mechanical response of structures to combined thermal and blast loads is a complex and highly important area of research. This project will investigate the response of reinforced concrete to these loading regimes using combined numerical simulations and experimental verification. The researcher will examine a range concrete grades and types under these loads investigating the overall structural performance (shear, bending, tension compression) and material degradation.

In the protection of buildings, infrastructure and people against terrorist events a fuller understanding of the combined effect of blast and thermal loads on structures is required. Research in this area has primarily focused on blast loads alone, however the response of the reinforced concrete to these combined loading regimes has not been investigated.

Primarily non-linear finite element analyses to model concrete structures under blast and thermal load regimes. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) in conjunction with numerical studies will be used to predict blast and thermal loads. Verification would be undertaken using data from blast and thermal experimental trials, collaborating with other academic institutions and industry. Design and undertaking of experimental trials, including de-coupled drop hammer and thermal lab based trials.


Entry Requirements

General admissions criteria
You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class
or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering or related discipline. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements
We’d welcome applications from candidates with experience of computational modelling (structural) and further industry and/or research experience. You should be highly motivated and able to direct and manage your own research project.

How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Laurie Clough ([Email Address Removed]) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Civil Engineering and Surveying’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.


If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code ACES4530219 when applying.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. The bursary is available to UK and EU students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant in line with the RCUK rate (£14,777 for 2018/19). The Faculty of Technology may fund project costs/consumables up to £1,500 p.a.



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