Integration of 3D printing and topology optimization for load bearing masonry blocks with enhanced fire and energy performance (Advert Reference: RDF18/MCE/NAGARATNAM)
Over the last decade, three-dimensional printing (3D printing) has become one of the fastest growing technologies as it is a highly customizable. In 3D printing, objects are created by depositing materials in layers based on digital model. Recent advances in 3D printing has been proven viable in creating prototypes for various geometry and cross-sections for the manufacturing industry. If utilised in the construction industry, it will have significant cost savings and have huge potential as an eco-friendly process, as it results in lower waste production.
One of the primary goals in the field of modern construction is to design buildings with high energy performances and fire resistance. This can be achieved through various avenues for example optimizing the technological systems and exposure or the shape of the building, using large transparent walls to increase lighting and passive heating, as well as materials and construction elements that minimize the heat flow across the external walls of the building. Topology optimization is a powerful technique, whereby an optimal arrangement of phases within the design domain is sought with the help of computational optimizers. This can be used to maximize the desired performance metric under prescribed constraints. Nevertheless, the application of topology optimization to meet more complex objectives in multiphase material systems, such as enhancing the energy and fire performances of optimally designed masonry blocks, is still in its infancy. To date, most of the studies in this area have aimed at designing materials that avoid fire resistance study. Buildings need to be designed to offer an acceptable level of fire safety and minimize the risks from heat and smoke.
This research aims to develop optimum masonry blocks with considerably increased energy performances and fire resistance using topological optimization and advanced finite element analyses. Topology optimization will be employed in identifying geometry of the cross-section of masonry block that minimizes its thermal transmittance. Subsequently, the masonry block will be manufactured using 3D printing and structural tests (compression) will be carried out to validate the results. In addition, finite element models (FEM) will be developed to investigate the energy and fire performance of the achieved optimum masonry block. The optimum masonry block will be compared with that of commercially available and historical building block to determine whether beneficial effects are produced.
Eligibility and How to Apply: Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018
Start Date: 1 October 2018
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.
The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees.