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Investigation of the Finite and Discrete Element Methods for Ground Engaging Tool Design

Department Of Mechanical Engineering, Weir Advanced Research Centre

Glasgow United Kingdom Mechanical Engineering Materials Science

About the Project

This project will investigate the use of state-of-the-art Discrete Element Method (DEM) and the Finite Element Method (FEM) software tools to simulate and analyse the interaction between machines and geo-materials in granular and bulk form. The aim is to develop an integrated methodology that can be used to better understand system interaction at a fundamental level, and provide useful information to reduce machine damage and increase product performance in a testing operating environment. Software tools such as the ANSYS FEA and EDEM or Rocky DEM software as well as open source alternative DEM software will be investigated using standalone workstations and the ARCHIE-WeSt regional supercomputer.


Collaboration with the industrial partner design teams will be initiated to learn the current expertise and typical simulation applications. Typical mining ground engaging tool (GET) products such as bucket, tooth and tooth adaptor designs that have complex geometries will be modelled integrating DEM and FEM. Detailed stress distributions and damage model developments (fatigue, fracture, multi-fracture and wear) will deliver the basis for a design optimisation methodology.


The student will be part of a larger research group joining Dr Yevgen Gorash, Dr Tugrul Comlekci and Prof Donald Mackenzie, linking the industrial partner to the University of Strathclyde, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. The student will be based at the Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow and the project is due to commence on 1st October 2021.


The candidate should have good engineering solid mechanics as well as a materials science background and be familiar with finite element simulation and software ABAQUS or ANSYS. Familiarity with DEM will also be an advantage.

Please send applications and enquiries to Dr Tugrul Comlekci at

Funding Notes

This project is funded by the University of Strathclyde Research Studentship Scheme, Research Excellence Award and an industrial partner. Funding is provided for an excellent student with a 1st Class Honours degree or Masters with Distinction (or equivalent) awarded within the Mechanical Engineering or a closely related discipline, with a proven commitment to the field of study.


Applications must include: (i) an up-to-date CV; (ii) 2 appropriate and relevant references (signed, on headed paper and dated (within the last 6 months)); (iii) transcripts for all qualifications whether awarded or ongoing (including an overall degree classification and officially translated, if necessary).

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