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Pedestrian-structure dynamic interaction on wobbly bridges – PhD (Funded)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, February 17, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


Engineering, Streatham Campus, Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence on 23 September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. The studentship will cover tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777 per annum for 3.5 years full-time (at overseas student rate or UK/EU student rate, as appropriate). The student would be based in the College at the Streatham Campus, and some experimental work will be at Exeter Science Park.

Project Description:

This PhD studentship will investigate under which conditions and in which way people walking on oscillating bridge decks perceive motion and interact with vibrating supporting surfaces.

Contemporary bridges are often sensitive to dynamic loading by pedestrians. People walking over these structures are known to interact with and adapt to the deck vibration, altering the vibration response of the structure in the process. To predict these vibrations and optimise structural design it is necessary to develop models for depicting mechanisms of pedestrian-structure dynamic interaction (PSDI).
The project will seek to identify the necessary conditions that cause PSDI to develop, look at kinematics and kinetics of the pedestrian gait during PSDI as well as human subjective feeling about the vibration perceived. The ultimate aim is to develop a reliable model of human locomotion over wobbly bridges and enable better prediction of structural vibration response and/or pedestrian’s sensitivity to vibration. Vertical vibrations only will be considered.

The project will benefit from a unique research infrastructure at Exeter, such as the VSimulators (virtual reality and motion simulation facility) and a lively, low-frequency bridge (20 m long and 3.2 m wide; maximum vibration amplitude about 10 m/s2) and some state-of-the-art instrumentation (such as motion capture system CODA, force plates and F-scan in-shoe pressure measurement system).
This project would suit an engineering/biomechanics/sports science graduate with an interest in vibration of structures, biomechanics of human locomotion and/or human response to vibration and who enjoys playing with and mastering use of state-of-the art instrumentation/facilities.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study.

Structural engineering, mechanical engineering, human motion science, biomechanics

Funding Notes

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK in civil structural or mechanical engineering, biomechanics or sports science.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project. Alternative tests may be acceptable (see View Website).

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