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PhD Studentship NSIRC 229 – Prediction of Step Wise Cracking due to Hydrogen attack in steel vessels using finite element stress analysis and acoustic emission.

  • Full or part time
    Dr S Soua
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Corrosion has been prevalent in our lives since ancient times. It can be caused by many chemicals and substances such as hydrogen. In particular, process plants and pipelines are equipped with steel assets constituting a large portion of the entire plant infrastructure. These structures are exposed to various fluids providing conducive environments where free corrosive hydrogen atoms are released to the surfaces of the steel structure. Hydrogen Induced Cracking (HIC) is one form of Hydrogen damage that is omnipresent in sour production and has been the subject of a lot of research for decades.
The objective of the present project is to study the HIC progress in vessel steels used in the oil and gas industry. A Finite Element (FE) model will be developed to predict the stepwise cracking behaviour in these materials. An experimental program, involving Acoustic Emission (AE) monitoring and metallographic examination, will be specified and performed for validation of the FE model. The objective is to predict the Step Wise Cracking (SWHIC) growth based on the structural and material properties of the affected vessel using the FE model and the AE data.

Project Outline
The outcome of this research program will be the incorporation of AE data into the FE model, hence reinforcing the impact of the system offered, and enhancing Fullagar’s offering with regard to AE. Condition and Structural Health Monitoring (CSM) will support this project by seeking to provide a common software platform where both tools (FE and AE) can be used. Fullagar’s AEHIC system will be used in testing. The project will also enhance current understanding of HIC and improve the AEHIC software.
Fullagar is interested in the commercialization of their SWHIC-Kit. The integration of the real-time monitoring results into the SWHIC App would add further paybacks to the maintenance and prediction program. In fact, incorporation of the real-time AEHIC system with a finite element software (SWHIC-App) will help assess Fitness-for-service (FFS) and predict the future state of HIC/SWC damage.
Such combination will serve as a prediction software that assesses the integrity of GOSP vessels towards SWC and can be ultimately commercialized as a standalone software or as Package/Suite with AEHIC.
Once the solution is incorporated in the integrity management of step-wise cracking affected vessels, the tool would bring the following benefits:
Continuous monitoring of SWC Locations to detect crack growth
Distinguish between dormant and growing flaws cracks
Estimate remaining lifetime

About University/Department
Fullagar Technologies is a joint venture between TWI and Lloyds Register that was launched in 2018. The joint venture delivers innovative inspection systems, products and services using the very latest industry research from the National Structural Integrity Research Center (NSIRC). In a world of rapidly advancing digital developments, Fullagar Technologies provides the industry with trustworthy advanced inspection systems assurance and expertise in the areas of remote inspection, additive manufacturing and digital and data driven fabrication-Industry 4.0.

NSIRC is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with lead academic partner Brunel University, the universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Loughborough, Birmingham, Leicester and a number of leading industrial partners. NSIRC aims to deliver cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners. 

Candidate Requirements
Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in mechanical or materials engineering (structural integrity, corrosion, finite element analysis, materials science, acoustic emission, oil and gas industry) Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 6.5) if applicable.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Lloyds Foundation and University. The studentship will provide successful Home/EU students with a minimum stipend of £16k/year and will cover the cost of tuition fees. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply, with total funding capped at £24k per year.

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