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PhD Studentship in Micromechanical Modelling of Plastic Bonded Explosives Incorporating Binder Ageing

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

  Prof Maria Charalambides  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a research studentship in the field of Mechanics of Materials leading to the award of a PhD degree.

This project will start on 1 October 2022. Polymer bonded explosives are energetic particle filled composite materials with particulate fill fractions approximately 90%. The aim of the research is to extend an image-based 3D micromechanical Finite Element Analysis (FEA) model already developed at Imperial in collaboration with AWE to derive predictions of the mechanical response of these composite materials as a function of varying particle size distribution. This will provide useful information as to the likely effect of material changes on the mechanical behaviour of the composite. The developed scripts for generating the 3D micromechanical model will be extended such that they are easier to use and more robust, such that they become a ready tool for use at AWE for assessing long term safe storage of materials. Furthermore, our current models will be extended such that they include ageing effects of the composite’s binder (the material in which the particles are dispersed) via incorporating experimental data on its chemical degradation. It is envisaged that this will be achieved through defining new state variables in the binder constitutive model so that the material properties can be described as a function of ageing and molecular mass (as well as temperature, strain rate and possibly stress-triaxiality). The project will involve experimental work to provide the input material parameters required in the models.

You will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person who meets the academic requirements for enrolment for the PhD degree at Imperial College London. You will have a 1st class honours degree in mechanical engineering or a related subject, and an enquiring and rigorous approach to research together with a strong intellect and disciplined work habits. An interest in Mechanics of Materials is essential. Good team-working, observational and communication skills are essential.

To find out more about research at Imperial College London in this area, go to:

For information on how to apply, go to:

For further details of the post contact Prof Maria  +44 (0)20 75947246. Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae to Prof Charalambides. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry.

Closing date: until post filled

Funding Notes

The post is supported by a bursary and fees (at the UK student rate) provided by our research collaborators AWE, Aldermaston, Reading RG7 4PR.
As a result of the industrial funding, this studentship will attract a higher bursary (approximately £20,000 pa) than the usual EPSRC student rate. Due to the nature of the work undertaken by AWE, candidates should normally be a British Citizen and will be required to undergo security clearance.
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