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PhD Scholarship in The Role of Fabric Anisotropy on Cyclic Ratcheting of Offshore Sands Under Generalised Loading Conditions

   Aura CDT

   Monday, June 06, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The use of advanced numerical methods to analyse the performance of offshore wind turbines (OWTs) under environmental loads led recently to improved design methodologies [1] that reduce the construction cost significantly. However, the accurate OWT-monopile-soil interaction modelling is still an ongoing research challenge, mainly due to the lack of a well-established theory for the mechanical response of soils under generalised loading conditions [2].

The aim of the project is the development of a novel constitutive framework that includes the complexity of soil’s microstructure (fabric) and its effect on soil’s mechanical response during generalised cyclic loading. The model will be applied in high-fidelity, 3D, hydro-mechanically coupled FE analysis of OWT-monopile-soil interaction, for a more accurate analysis of the long-term performance of OWTs, that can lead to a more cost-effective design practice.

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. The successful applicant will undertake a PG-Dip training year at the University of Hull before completing their PhD research at Durham University.

For more information visit Or if you have a direct question about the project, please email and we will forward the query to the relevant supervisor. Please do not contact the project supervisors directly.

The Supervisors are:

Dr Alexandros Petalas, Durham University

Prof Will Coombs, Durham University

Dr Marti Lloret-Cabot, Durham University 

Applications are made via an online form. Please visit the Aura CDT website:

Funding Notes

Funding is available for Home students only. The full-time Aura CDT PhD Scholarship includes fees and maintenance (£16,062 per annum, 2022/23 rate) for four years, depending on satisfactory progress.


[1] Burd et al., Pisa design methodology for offshore wind turbines, DOI: 10.1680/jgeot.18.p.277
[2] Cheng et al., 3D FE-informed laboratory testing, DOI: 10.3390/jmse9010101

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