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Mechanics of soft solids and structures under large deformation

School of Engineering

Applications accepted all year round Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Solid materials that can undergo large deformations are ubiquitous in nature and are widely used to manufacture engineering components, devices and structures. Naturally occurring materials include soft biological tissues such as heart, arteries, skin and brain. Study of their deformation characteristics is not only important to understand biological function but also necessary to develop efficient treatment for medical conditions (design of coronary stents, skin patches and surgical procedures).
Several advanced composites used in aircraft and spacecraft components, thin structures deployed as tents or parachutes, artificial muscles in advanced robotics and substrates for flexible electronic devices also fall under this category. Of great interest are smart magneto-active and electro-active materials that can undergo extremely large, rapid, and reversible deformations just at the flick of a switch and therefore present great promise for future applications.

Project details:

This project aims at mathematical and computational modelling of large deformations in soft solids described above. Models for material response will be developed with the help of experimental observations. Computer simulations will be performed to predict response of these new models under physically relevant loading scenarios. Extreme deformations often lead to buckling instability. Instability is associated with material/structural failure in traditional engineering design but in the case advanced soft composites instability is a desirable and useful tool. One of the main aims of this project is the prediction of post-buckling response of soft materials.

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in engineering, applied mathematics, physics, material science or a related discipline. Experience in one or more of the following is desirable:
- Solid Mechanics: knowledge of continuum mechanics and elasticity.
- Numerical methods: knowledge of computational techniques to solve differential equations such as the finite element method.
- Scientific programming: ability to program in a scientific programming language such as Matlab/ Python/ C/C++/ Fortran.
- Communication: excellent writing and presentation skills.

This PhD project is suitable for students with interest in either one or more of the following topics:
solid mechanics, continuum mechanics, structural engineering, computational mechanics, composites, biomechanics, advanced materials, or applied mathematics.

Training and development:

You will benefit from a wide range of researcher development opportunities offered to PGR students. These range from development of subject specific skills (mechanics, applied mathematics, computer programming) to transferable skills (scientific communication, time management, networking).
You will be a part of the reputed Glasgow Computational Engineering Centre ( ) and will closely interact with world-leading subject experts over the course of your PhD thereby enhancing your knowledge and career prospects.

How to apply:

Informal enquiries can be made by writing to Dr. Prashant Saxena with a copy of your CV and cover letter.
Applications should be made online by following the instructions here

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