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Optimal design of stayed struts

Project Description

The aim of this project is to develop optimisation methods that can enhance the design of prestressed stayed struts.

The concept of prestressed stayed systems evolved from technologies developed for structural systems with prestressed steel tendons, designed primarily for lightweight and long span applications. This type of structural system is a fairly recent innovation that has already been employed in construction projects and cases where an efficient lightweight structure with an aesthetic quality is required. For example, stayed struts have been used as supports for concert stadia and roof structures with recognised potential for wider usage in the construction industry (both onshore and offshore).

There have been recent attempts to understand the behaviour of stayed struts and also to develop design guidance towards wider use of this innovative structural system in the construction industry. These studies have revealed that the performance, or load carrying capacity, of prestressed stayed systems depends on a complex interaction between the configuration, geometry, level of prestress and nonlinear post-buckling behaviour. Thus, the optimal design of such systems is not trivial.

Optimisation methods, when applied to engineering design problems, can resolve complex trade-offs and potentially provide novel, more efficient designs. However, no optimisation methods have been developed to aid the design of prestressed stayed struts. Therefore, it is the aim of this project to develop optimisation methods that can enhance the design and structural efficiency of prestressed stayed struts.

The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in civil, structural or mechanical engineering.

Essential knowledge of: structural mechanics, finite element analysis. Desired: nonlinear mechanics, optimisation methods.


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 P Dunning () 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.

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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