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Shock transmission through geological materials

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, April 01, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentship in the Blast and Impact Dynamics Research Group in the Department of Civil & Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield. This PhD studentship is directly funded by AWE and is a fantastic opportunity to join a world-leading research group and gain first-hand experience of experimental measurement of the dynamic behaviour of geological materials at the University of Sheffield Blast Laboratory.

Project description
It is known that the properties of a soil/rock medium influence the propagation of shock, compaction, and elastic waves. The Blast and Impact Dynamics research group at the University of Sheffield has a long track record in researching buried explosive events, and have demonstrated the influence that geotechnical parameters have on the loading generated from shallow buried explosives. It is posited that the primary reason for the differences in loading is due to wave propagation in the geological material. Shock waves tend to be highly localised and propagate over only short distances, whereas elastic waves are lower in magnitude compared to compaction waves. It is important, therefore, to better understand the propagation of compaction waves through such materials. The problem is made more complex when inhomogeneities, e.g. layers of materials and the presence of geological faults, are present. This studentship is aimed at addressing key research questions in the area of compaction wave propagation through complex granular/geological media.

The aim of the PhD will be to investigate the 3 zone model below. It is expected that zones 1 and 3 will be of lesser interest and zone 2 is where the work will be focussed.
Zone 1: Cratering- total compaction of the layer with the material being ejected. This is assuming that the initial source is buried. For an above ground burst it is highly likely that cratering will not occur. It is proposed that this is covered by a focussed literature review.
Zone 2: Dynamic compaction and shock propagation using the Split-Hopkinson Pressure Bar (Kolsky Bar) apparatus.
Zone 3: Elastic shock propagation – traditional earthquake mechanics, soils can and have previously been quantified using ‘bender’ element tests. It is proposed that this is covered by a focussed literature review.

The candidate
Suitable for candidates holding or anticipating an award of Distinction at MSc level, or 1st at undergraduate degree in an engineering or numerical/physical sciences discipline. Some experience in blast/dynamic analysis is preferred, as is experience in the design and running of experimental trials.

Because of the sensitive nature of the research, this PhD is open to UK candidates only.

The successful candidate must start by October 2020.

Next steps
Please email a CV and covering letter to Dr Sam Clarke at with the subject “Expression of interest for AWE PhD studentship”. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to apply through the university’s online application portal.

Funding Notes

Additional project funding available for international travel during the PhD.

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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