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Modelling towed fishing gears on seabed sediment

School of Engineering

About the Project

The project will involve either/ both numerical and physical modelling of the contact between fishing gear components and the seabed and is part of larger research projects being carried out in collaboration with DTU Aqua (Denmark) to develop fishing gears that are more environmentally friendly, both in terms of fuel usage and bottom contact.

The student will use and further develop existing finite element models using Abaqus [1-5] and/or carry out scale laboratory tests in a specially designed sand towing channel. A number of relevant gear components will be tested on sand of different densities. The sea bed trials will be numerically modelled in order to develop a predictive numerical tool for different types of gears and sediments. [6-9]

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Civil/Mechanical Engineering; Material Science/Engineering.

You will ideally have a background in solid mechanics with knowledge of finite element analysis. Familiarity with the finite element package Abaqus is necessary and an understanding of soil mechanics is desirable. You should be willing to undertake both experimental work and extend your knowledge of modelling techniques.

In addition to having the right technical background, the ideal candidate will be an ambitious, enthusiastic person with good interpersonal skills who can work both independently and as part of a multi-disciplinary team, using initiative and logical thinking.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Professor A Ivanovic (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

It is possible to undertake this project entirely by distance learning. Interested parties should contact Professor Ivanovic to discuss this.

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT.


1. O'Neill, F. G. & Ivanovic, A., Jan 2016, ‘The physical impact of towed demersal fishing gears on soft sediments’ In : ICES Journal of Marine Science. 73, Suppl. 1, p. i5-i14 10 p.
doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsv125
2. Esmaeili M and Ivanović A, July 2015, ‘Analytical and numerical modelling of the interaction of rigid element with friction material’ In : Computers and Geotechnics. 68, p. 208-219 12 p.

3. Ivanović A and O’Neill F.G., April 2015, ‘Towing cylindrical fishing gear components on cohesive soils’, In : Computers and Geotechnics. 65, p. 212-219 8p.

4. Esmaeili M. and Ivanović A., 2014, ‘Numerical Modelling of Fishing Ground Gear Component on the Seabed’, Ocean Engineering, 91, 316–328.

5. Ivanović A., Neilson R.D. and O’Neill F.G., 2011, Modelling the physical impact of trawl components on the seabed Ocean Engineering, 38(7), 925-933.

6. Depestele, J., Degrendele, K., Esmaeili, M., Ivanovic, A., Kröger, S., O'Neill, F. G., Parker, R., Polet, H., Roche, M., Teal, L. R., Vanelslander, B. & Rijnsdorp, A. D., 1 Jan 2019 ‘Comparison of mechanical disturbance in soft sediments due to tickler-chain SumWing trawl versus electro-fitted PulseWing trawl’, In: ICES Journal of Marine Science. 76, 1, p. 312-329 18 p.

7. O'Neill, F. G., Summerbell, K. J. & Ivanovic, A., Jan 2018, ‘The contact drag of towed demersal fishing gear components’ In : Journal of Marine Systems. 177, p. 39-52 14 p.

8. Rijnsdorp A.D., Bolam, S., Buhl-Mortensen L., Eigaard O.R., Hamon K., Hintzen N.T., Ivanović A., Hiddink J.G., Kenny A., Laffargue P., Nielsen R.N., O’Neill F.G., Piet G.J., Polet H., Sala A. , Smith C. , van Kooten T., Zengin M. Jan 2016 ‘A quantitative method for the assessment of trawling impacts on benthic ecosystems’, In : ICES Journal of Marine Science. 73, Suppl. 1, p. 127-138 12 p.

9. Depestele, J., Ivanovic, A., Degrendele, K., Esmaeili, M., Polet, H., Roche, M., Summerbell, K., Teal, L. R., Vanelslander, B. & O'Neill, F. G., 20 Jan 2016, ‘Measuring and Assessing the Physical Impact of Beam Trawling’ In : ICES Journal of Marine Science. 73, Suppl. 1, p. i15-i26 12 p.
doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsv056.

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