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Sustainable and reusable structural systems for infrastructures in a Net-Zero society

   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr Han Fang, Prof Susan Bernal-Lopez  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project will develop sustainable structural systems for infrastructures that can effectively facilitate the transformation for the Net-zero target. The construction, maintenance and demolition of infrastructures in their life cycle consume significant amount of materials and energy, leading to high CO2 emissions during these life-cycle activities. To realise Net-Zero emission target, these activities for infrastructures require decarbonisation and dematerialisation, as the objectives in the structural design stage. Although engineers and researchers have been committing to improve the structural design efficiency for reduced use of materials and develop low-carbon materials using different wastes, the infrastructures designed with these methods or materials still have unignorable amount of embodied carbon rather than zero net-carbon. More innovative solutions are required to decarbonise and dematerialise the infrastructure structural systems. 

This project aims to develop effective solutions to address the issue. Structural systems with low embodied carbon and demountability will be developed to allow for the easy retrofit of infrastructures for elongated service life to reduce the demand on new construction and the feasible reuse of structural components in other infrastructures with minimal re-manufacturing. The research will consider structural systems of various configurations that can form important parts of typical bridges and buildings. They are also designed with advanced and low-carbon materials including those materials produced from wastes or by-products to optimise the embodied carbon. The structural performance of the structural systems will be verified in experimental and numerical investigations while the embodied carbon will be evaluated using life-cycle assessments. 

This project would suit a graduate with good knowledge in Structural Engineering and the motivation and interests in sustainability of infrastructures and the solutions for net-zero. The research will be supported by the facilities at the George Earle Laboratory and other world-class resources at University of Leeds.

Funding Notes

A highly competitive EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship consisting of the award of fees with a maintenance grant (currently £17,668 for session 2022/23) for 3.5 years.  An additional Top-Up of £3,000 per year for 3.5 years is available to previous University of Leeds graduates. This opportunity is open to all applicants, with a number of awards for Non-UK nationals limited by UKRI.  All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.

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