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University of Sheffield Featured PhD Programmes
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University of Sheffield Featured PhD Programmes

Tomography of large structural elements

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, September 10, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Large structural elements forming structures such as bridges, retaining walls and tunnel linings may contain hidden defects that limit their longevity, with major safety and cost implications. Also, when a structure is subjected to intense loading, internal damage may occur which is not visible on the surface.
Tomographic techniques allow a three-dimensional image of the internal structures of a solid object to be built up, potentially allowing internal defects to be identified and crack propagation to be tracked.
However, to date tomography has been little used by civil engineers due limitations in the size of object that can be imaged. This research seeks to address this.

The research will involve both experimental testing and numerical analysis of the collected data.
Specifically, distributed measurements (e.g. electrical, photographic, displacement) will be used to quantify and tomographically image the damage processes that occur in a structural element exposed to quasi-static or dynamic loading conditions. This will require laboratory testing of structural members and then solution of numerical inverse problems that use the experimental data. The techniques developed will allow engineers to gain a deeper understanding of the 3D damage processes that occur inside materials and structures, not identifiable using contemporary techniques. These techniques can then potentially be applied in the field.

The studentship will be supported by EPSRC and DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory), a UK government agency. The position will be based in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, with laboratory research carried out at the new Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research (ICAIR) Centre. The position provides the successful candidate with an excellent opportunity to work closely with industry in the development of cutting-edge technologies and methodologies for characterising structures and materials subject to a range of loading and environmental conditions.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) at least a 2.1 degree in engineering, mathematics, or a physical science. Sound programming skills are required and applicants will be expected to be self- motivated and have an aptitude for working with others.

ICAIR website:
Civil and Structural Engineering Dept, University of Sheffield website:
Industry partner: DSTL

Funding Notes

This position is for a PhD student working full-time with a tax free salary of £18,500. To apply please send a two-page CV and covering letter to before the submission deadline of
10 Sept 2019, formal interviews will take place soon after.

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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