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PhD Studentship Opportunity in Developing an indirect damage inspection algorithm for railway bridges

Project Description

Considering the challenges facing railway industry due to ageing and deteriorating railway bridges and the cost of direct monitoring of bridge conditions, there are obvious merits in monitoring the condition of a bridge without instrumenting sensors directly on the bridge.
The general practice in infrastructure inspection is to have trained personnel inspect the infrastructure and form an opinion as to its condition, which can be inefficient, disruptive to traffic, costly and occasionally unsafe. In recent years, there have been significant efforts in instrumenting bridges and assessing the condition of the bridge using direct measurements. These methods are categorised as non-destructive damage assessment techniques, but they can be expensive given the number of sensors required and the maintenance of the data acquisition system. Given the number of railway bridges in the UK, it is also logistically difficult and expensive to instrument all the bridges in a railway network.

To address these challenges, indirect modal damage assessment techniques have been gaining momentum in recent years. In these methods, an instrumented vehicle is used to monitor and inspect the bridge while travelling at operational speed. In other words, the vehicle is acting as an actuator as well as a receiver.

The fundamental principle in modal damage assessment states that damage causes changes in physical properties of the structure which results in altering the vibration behaviour of the structure. The challenge in indirect modal inspection methods is to identify and extract these changes from the measurements recorded on the travelling vehicle while it is driving over a damaged bridge at operational speed. This project aims to systematically study these changes using detailed and complex train-bridge interaction models and investigate mechanisms and methods to detect and localise damage in bridges using train-borne measurements.

Entry requirements:
MEng in Civil/Structural/Mechanical/ Automotive Engineering with a UK equivalent 2:1 classification or above. Or BEng in Civil/Structural/Mechanical/ Automotive Engineering with a UK equivalent 2:1 classification or above and MSc degree in Structural Mechanics/Structural Engineering.
IELTS requirements: IELTS requirements: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

How to apply:
Applications should be sent through the PhD Civil and Environmental Engineering page: Applicants are required to send a cover letter explaining their interest in the project, a CV with relevant qualifications and prior expertise in areas relevant to the project, relevant transcripts and the names and contact details of two referees. At least one reference should be from an individual with good knowledge of the applicant’s academic record, especially in projects/dissertations.
Interviews will be arranged for early December.

Funding Notes

The funding covers academic fees for UK/EU students. You will also receive a stipend of £15,500 per annum to cover your living expenses. Additional funding is available to present your work in a conference and for project related costs.

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