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Micromechanics of cracking of clay subjected to air drying and/or gas breakthrough


Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

About the Project

This 3-year PhD at the University of Strathclyde will focus on investigating the mechanisms at the micro/particle scale underpinning the process of crack formation in clay associated with air drying and/or exposure of the clay interface to gas at high pressure.

The research will mainly be experimentally-based and the PhD candidate will make use of state of the art technologies for the investigation of the clay microstructure including X-Ray Computed Tomography, Environmental Scanning Microscopy, and Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry.

Despite 100 years of research on the macro-mechanical behaviour of clay, we are still largely ignoring underlying mechanisms at the particle scale. Clay micromechanics involves the understanding of the configuration of elements (particles) and the forces controlling the kinematics of such elements. Clay micromechanics (including the evolution of particle configuration in clays when subjected to mechanical loading) has rarely been investigated explicitly and is a young and rapidly growing discipline in the field of soil mechanics.

Besides joining a vibrant geotechnical community at Strathclyde, the candidate will join the International Research Centre For Clay Micromechanics (https://www.irccm.net ) which will provide the opportunity for international collaborations and to spend a period abroad in one of the partner universities (i.e. Chalmers University of Technology - Sweden, University of Twente - The Netherlands, Université Grenoble Alpes – France, University of Brasilia – Brazil, Politecnico di Bari – Italy, Technical University of Denmark – Denmark)

Industrial contacts will be mainly focused, but not only, towards the Carbon Storage and Sequestration sector.

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from candidates who have achieved a first class or upper second class honors in a relevant degree, including Civil Engineering/Geotechnical Engineering/ Physics/ /Chemical Engineering/ Environmental Engineering or an equivalent qualification at Masters level and must be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.The studentship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees for 36 months and a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per year for the full three-year duration. International Students applying must be able to provide evidence and pay the difference between the UK Home Fee and the International Fee.

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