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PhD Studentship (Sponsored by Lloyd’s Register Foundation) – Transducer Miniaturisation for High Density Arrays for Guided Wave Inspection

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  • Full or part time
    Dr B Engineer
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Applications are invited to undertake a PhD programme in partnership with Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

Background -

Oil and gas pipeline infrastructure is regularly inspected for the onset of corrosion. There are various Non-Destructive testing techniques which can be used to assess the integrity of such infrastructure, however these are either qualitative in nature and/or are restricted to inspecting localised areas. Guided Wave testing is an ultrasonic technique which has the advantage of providing wall loss information on inaccessible pipeline from accessible remote locations. Most guided wave solutions use ultrasonic piezoelectric transducers. It is challenging to make these small and cost effective in high volume. Advanced array designs require transducers to be placed close together, which is not possible with transducers with a large footprint. The development of smaller transducers will enhance the capabilities of the technique and enable the application of guided waves to a range of other sectors.

Project Outline -

The objective of this project is to develop a comprehensive analytical model which can be used to conduct a parametric study on the design of guided wave transducers and would investigate the effect of boundary conditions, material properties, geometry and piezoelectric co-efficient on the transmission response of a transducer. This will include the following work packages:

• Evaluation of existing literature and transducer technology
• Evaluation of an existing transducer
- Experimental assessment of existing transducer
- Modelling of an existing transducer
• Modelling of new transducer designs
- Identification of physical parameters effecting performance
• Iterate through design ideas and design modelling to find a miniature design with acceptable performance indicators
• Build prototype and experimentally validate modelled performance of miniaturised design

The outcomes of this project will include the development of guided wave sensors which are optimized to produce high signal amplitude and an enhanced Signal-to-Noise ratio across a broad frequency spectrum. These will be used in multiple to produce arrays in order to heighten sensitivity to defects in pipelines. This work will be carried out using Plant Integrity facilities and NSIRC’s state-of-the-art automated laser vibrometer test rig both based in Cambridge.

About the sponsor -

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is a charity set up in 2012, which became fully operational in 2013, with a mission to enhance the safety of life and property and to advance public education in engineering-related subjects. For more information about the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, its activities and latest news visit our website:

About NSIRC -

Projects will be based at NSIRC, a state-of-the-art postgraduate facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI in Cambridge. NSIRC is sponsored by TWI, BP and Lloyd’s Register Foundation and students will work to deliver industry relevant research. PhDs will be supervised and awarded by one of our academic partners such as Brunel University London, Cambridge, Manchester, Loughborough, Birmingham, Leicester, Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Leeds, Cranfield and Coventry. For more information about The National Structural Integrity Research Centre, visit

Candidate Requirements -

Candidates should have a Mechanical Engineering or Physics degree preferably at MSc level or an equivalent overseas degree. Preferably, candidates will have studied in vibrations, waves or dynamics and are particularly welcome to apply. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 7) if applicable.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Lloyds Register Foundation, TWI and academic partners. The studentship will provide successful Home/EU students with a stipend of £16k/year and will cover the cost of tuition fees. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply, with total funding capped at £20k/year.

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