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Numerical modelling of cracked engineering materials under dynamic loading

Project Description

It is common knowledge that all existing structural materials contain various inter- and intra-component cracks and crack-like defects which appear in materials during fabrication or in-service. The presence of structural defects considerably decreases the strength and the reliability of materials.

Under deformation the opposite faces of the existing cracks interact with each other, altering significantly the stress fields near the crack tips. It takes on special significance for the case of high rate deformations as found in impact and high-frequency dynamics, which covers an extremely wide range of situations, where the contact interaction can change the response substantially. Unfortunately, due to the non-linearity of the problem and substantial computational difficulties, even in the simplest case of isotropic homogeneous body, the overwhelming majority of studies neglect the contact interaction of crack faces in spite of its evident significance. In the case of heterogeneous materials, solutions taking the contact interaction into account are non-existent.

This project will start a new direction in fracture mechanics leading to reassessment of the traditional understanding of strength and fracture of cracked materials under dynamic loading. It will be an interdisciplinary work focused on fracture mechanics problems for cracked heterogeneous materials under impact and high-frequency harmonic loading. Special attention will be paid to the effect of the crack faces contact interaction.

The main objectives are:

1. Development of a general theory of heterogeneous cracked materials under dynamic loading which takes the crack faces contact interaction into account.
2. Development of a robust numerical methodology for tackling the problem, including development of the iterative solution algorithms.
3. Reassessment of dynamic stress intensity factors for cracked materials, including extensive parametric analysis of the problem.

The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Engineering, Materials or Applied Mathematics.

Essential Background: Fundamentals of Engineering Materials and Stress Analysis Numerical Methods.

Knowledge: The project is likely to involve a combination of analytical studies and computer modelling including FEM&BEM analysis and MatLab programming, so the appropriate computing skills would be quite beneficial but not compulsory.


Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing.


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

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. It is for self-funded students only.


1. Menshykova MV, Menshykov OV, Guz IA, Wuensche M, Zhang Ch. A boundary integral equation methods in the frequency domain for cracks under transient loading, Acta Mechanica, 2016, 227(11): 3305-3314.

2. Menshykova MV, Menshykov OV, Guz IA. An iterative BEM for the dynamic analysis of interface crack contact problems, Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements, 2011, 35: 735-749.

3. Menshykov OV, Menshykova MV, Guz IA. Effect of friction of the crack faces for a linear crack under an oblique harmonic loading, International Journal of Engineering Science, 2008, 46: 438–458.

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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