Postgraduate Research at the School of MACE

Meet some PhD students at the school, and learn about their experiences.

Postgraduate Research Projects

The School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering is currently offering a range of PhD projects in the following specialist areas: Bioengineering, Energy Systems, Fluid Dynamics, Geotechnics, Innovative Manufacturing, Management of Projects and Water Engineering.

Identifying an interesting, worthwhile and feasible PhD project can be a challenging task since it depends on both the interests and abilities of the student and also the supervisor. 

Please contact potential supervisors to find out more if you are interested in any of the projects listed below. You can also explore the research profiles of individual members of staff to find out more about their research interests. For general queries about funding and how to apply please contact the Student Recruitment and Admissions Team.

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PhD Specialist Areas:

TitleA Novel Predictive Musculoskeletal Model to Simulate Human Walking
Supervisors
Description

Walking is the most fundamental and widespread mode of transportation for human being. People walk automatically without the need for conscious attention. However, this seemingly simple task exhibits a very high degree of complexity. Human walking requires complex control between multiple body segments, joints and muscles, working in synchronization to provide impressive terrain adaptation, shock absorption and energy-efficient forward movement. Over the past decades, intensive studies have been conducted toward an understanding of the biomechanics of human walking [1]. However, the majority of the outcomes have been descriptive in nature as they are based on measurements, which by its nature tells us what happens but not why it happens. Very few studies have been devoted to predictive modelling, which has the powerful feature of being explanatory because the reasons for particular model behaviours can be interrogated.

The objective of this research is to develop a novel human musculoskeletal model, which can predict the complex segmental motions and muscle activities during human walking with minimal measurement inputs. This will be based on a very efficient combined inverse dynamics and optimisaiton framework we have been developing over years [2,3,4], and will also be thoroughly validated against the gait measurement data collected using the state-of-the-art motion analysis system in our lab. A well-validated and robust predictive model would find many important practical applications. In clinical motion analysis, predictive models could be used to fully understand how different musculoskeletal structures and states of health or disease affect human walking. In surgical planning, the outcomes of surgical interventions can be foreseen by predictive musculoskeletal models before the surgeries. In rehabilitation engineering, predictive gait models could be used as part of a virtual prototyping approach to design for predicting the effects of new orthotic or prosthetic components on the biomechanics of walking. This would help reduce the costly and time-consuming reliance on physical prototyping and in-vivo testing.

References:

[1] Ren L et al. 2006. Computational models to synthesize human walking. Journal of Bionic Engineering 3, 127-138.
[2] Ren L et al. 2010. A generic analytical foot rollover model for predicting translational ankle kinematics in gait simulation studies. Journal of Biomechanics 43, 194-202.
[3] Ren L et al. 2008. Whole-body inverse dynamics over a complete gait cycle based only on measured kinematics. Journal of Biomechanics 41, 2750-2759.
[4] Ren L et al. 2007. Predictive modelling of human walking over a complete gait cycle. Journal of Biomechanics 40, 1567-1574.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/ 

 

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleBio-manufacturing for Rapid Healing
Supervisors
Description

Scaffolds, physical substrates for cell attachment, proliferation and differentiation, are critical structures in regenerative medicine. They must be biodegradable, bioactive and biocompatible. Depending on the application, they must have an appropriate porosity, pore shape, size and pore distribution. This project will explore the use of additive manufacturing to produce bioactive and anti-bacterial scaffolds combining a degradable polymer with honey. There has been historical evidence that natural honey has healing properties and in particular Manuka honey has anti-bacterial properties. You will have seen that you can purchase Manuka honey with different ratings. The test that is carried out to give Manuka honey its rating (the higher the number the stronger the antibacterial properties) is to calculate the strength of honey to kill bacteria compared to a solution of phenol and water. In this project there will be a focus on introducing honey with a known UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) or antibacterial strength rating into the scaffold and analysing the impact that it may have on promoting healing.

This project offers a unique opportunity to work in the area of biomanufacturing. As the average age of our population continues to increase there is a growing need for medical advances to ensure that people remain fit and healthy as they grow older. Recovering form infection becomes more difficult as we get older or for certain people they may not the strength in their immune system to fight a wound infection.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Good knowledge on Biomanufacturing systems; Biomaterials; Material’s characterization techniques (SEM, DSC, GPC, DMTA); Basic understanding of cell/matrix interactions; CAD software (Solidworks).

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleBiomimetic Avian Wing Geometries for Improved Aerodynamic and Aero-acoustic Performance
Supervisors
Description

This project will examine the aerodynamic and aeroacoustic properties of avian-inspired wings in gliding flight. Specifically, the project will conduct individual investigations on isolated geometric features of bird wings, such as the notched trailing-edge, and the wing-body interface. The aim will be to distinguish between features which are genuine aerodynamic or aeroacoustic performance enhancements, and those which may satisfy other biological or physical constraints.

The testing protocol may involve traditional wind-tunnel testing, novel free-flight testing on gliders, computational fluid dynamics, or a combination of these. An important aspect of this project will be to determine the feasibility of using these different methods to achieve the desired project goals.

The project findings will develop two areas of scientific understanding: the evolutionary adaptation of biological wings to achieve high performance flight, and also the potential for incorporating avian wing features into engineered aircraft wings.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Low-speed aerodynamics, Matlab programming, experimental testing (preferably wind tunnel testing), Commercial CFD package experience preferable but not essential.

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleBone Regeneration for Osteoporosis using Stem Cells
Supervisors
Description

Osteoporosis is a common problem in our aging population particularly amongst women. The condition leads to reduced mobility by accelerated joint wear and increased risk of bone fracture. The hip/pelvis is cruicial in locomotion and is particularly susceptible to problems caused by osteoporosis. Hip joint replacements are now commonplace and restore mobility and function for many older adults. However, the demineralisation of bone experienced during osteoporosis means that hip structural integrity is compromised to an extent where conventional hip replacement is not possible.

Novel stem cell treatment has shown positive results in the remineralisation of bone and there are plans to use this in the treatment of hips in osteoporosis sufferers. However, we are unsure how much mineralisation is needed to restore normal function. In addition, the intervention will involve drilling the hip and injecting the treatment mixture into the bone, this will affect the structural integrity of the hip.

This project aims to investigate the loading and stress experienced by hips/pelvis in older adults (both with and without osteoporosis). It also aims to understand the mechanical effect of the planned treatment and make recommendations for the intervention method based on mechanical loading considerations. The project will involve:

  • In vitro tests on animal bone combined
  • Medical imaging on human subjects
  • Mathematical models (finite element analysis) to investigate stress during activities of daily living, during drilling and post clinical intervention (for various stages of demineralisation/osteoporosis).

This project will have real world impact to inform novel clinical treatments and provide evidence for ethical approval of future animal and human clinical trials.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/    

  • Practical measurement and data acquisition experience
  • Understanding of mechanical and mathematical modelling principles
  • Experience of computer modelling (ideally FEM)
  • Ability to work independently and in a team to solve problems
PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleDevelopment of A Novel Biomedical Engineering Kit to Fight Obesity
Supervisors
Description

The aim of this research project is for the first time to design, develop and test a novel engineering kit which would play an important tool in fighting obesity in the general public, particularly in children and adolescents. This portable experimental kit would replicate the pulsatile blood flow in an accurate human cardiovascular system, simulating one of the three underlying health issues associated with obesity namely high blood pressure, high blood sugar and lack of physical activity. The novelty and creative aspects of this project is the development of a method to visualise the above features in an in vitro setup. This requires original research in both measurement techniques and also fluid flow. Using the expertise available in the School of MACE at the University of Manchester, the Computed Tomography (CT) scan from the chest of a healthy individual (using an existing database available to the supervisory team) will be used to manufacture sets of state-of-the-art transparent, accurate and flexible silicon models. Some additional equipment used in  this project include: a pulsatile pump; a high definition camera; an iPad for monitoring the output; a set of accessory kit with extra tubing; and a fluid with properties similar to the blood. This is an exciting project with engineering design and innovation at the heart of research. It also has potential for significant impact on the lives of many people through raising awareness about the consequences of obesity and poor diet.

Skills

Essential: Strong background in Fluid Mechanics.
Desirable: Background in Biomedical Engineering or Experimental Fluid Mechanics.

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleExperimental Measurements of Hemodynamics Conditions in Different Patient-Specific Cardiovascular Models
Supervisors
Description

The School of MACE at the University of Manchester has excellent track-record in numerical and experimental fluid mechanics. The aim of this project is to utilise the expertise and facilities available at MACE in experimental fluid mechanics to develop an in vitro setup in order to generate a reliable dataset which includes the main fluid flow/hemodynamics parameters in a number of patient-specific phantoms/models. The models will initially be based on the existing CT-scans of some of the common sections of the cardiovascular system (aorta, carotid bifurcation, etc) taken from healthy individuals and later could be extended to common cardiovascular lesions (aneurysms, bypass grafts, etc) taken from patients. In this project, the student will be using Particle Image Velocimeter (PIV) and Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA) to obtain data. In addition to the phantoms, the setup will include a special pulsatile pump which will pump the fluid using a specified waveform, corresponding to a patient-specific condition. The dataset generated from this research will provide an invaluable source of data for validation of numerical simulations.

Skills

Essential: Strong background in Fluid Mechanics.
Desirable: Background in Biomedical Engineering or Experimental Fluid Mechanics.

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleHuman Locomotion Analysis using Body Surface Reconstruction
Supervisors
Description

This project will explore how detailed information of the surface geometry of the human body can further our understanding of human locomotion. Traditionally motion capture methods record kinematic data for a finite set of markers distributed on the body surface, and this information is interpreted to approximate the movement of the skeletal segments. Advanced imaging methods can be used to capture a detailed representation of the body surface, or of individual limbs in a static posture.

These two methods can be combined to capture changes in the 3d body surface position and orientation over time during locomotion. This information can then be used with fluid dynamics software to examine fluidic forces (drag), and also heating and cooling of the skin in different locomotion modes.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/   

Matlab programming, experimental testing (preferably of human locomotion), Commercial CFD package experience preferable but not essential.

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleMedical Mechatronics for improving upper limb function of the neurologically impaired
Supervisors
Description

Neurological impairments such as Stroke and Cerebral Palsy are the commonest forms of disability in adults and children respectively in the UK and across Europe and North America. People with neurological impairment often have compromised volitional control of their arm and hand limiting their ability to undertake activities of daily living such as getting dressed.

The core mechanisms of rehabilitation interventions to promote upper limb function involve intensive practice of functional tasks, which drives neural plasticity to improve motor skills. However weakness of the upper limb makes it difficult for the neurologically impaired to practice at the necessary intensity.

One way of providing the support required for the neurologically impaired to access to useful arm exercise is using conventional computer gaming technology such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect. However this technology may not promote the correct types of movement.

The project will involve the design, implementation and analysis of mechatronic devices to interface with existing commercial computer gaming technology to promote improved upper limb function for those with neurological impairment.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

•Mechanical Engineering Design
•Computer aided design (solidworks software)
•LabVIEW programming
•Bioengineering
•User Centred Design

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleShear Stress on Plantar Tissue and its Relationship to Diabetic Foot Ulceration
Supervisors
Description

Diabetes is a huge global problem and it is estimated that by 2030 that 552 million people will have diabetes. Approximately 7% of people who have diabetes have foot ulcers and the annual cost to the NHS in England alone for diabetic foot ulceration is around £650M. Yet we still do not have full understanding of the mechanisms of cause and prevention of foot ulcers for diabetics. There is a clear link between mechanical loading of the plantar tissue and foot ulceration but the current work to date mainly focusses on normal stress but it is known that shear stress plays a large role.

This project aims to understand how plantar tissue is stressed during gait by investigating shear loading using measurement and modelling. This will be achieved by

1. Gait lab measurement on healthy subjects of foot kinematics, force/pressure measurement.


2. In vitro animal tissue testing using shear loading measuring force and deformation


3. Use of analytical and numerical models (finite element analysis) to quantify failure mechanisms.

The impact of this work will inform future medical treatment and the development of new medical devices.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Practical measurement and data acquisition experience
  • Understanding of mechanical and mathematical modelling principles
  • Experience of computer modelling (ideally FEM)
  • Ability to work independently and in a team to solve problems
PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleNumerical Simulation of Complex Cardiovascular Geometries using Advanced Boundary Conditions
Supervisors
Description

The numerical simulations in the field of cardiovascular biomechanics still lack accuracy and reliability. One of the reasons for large discrepancies between different numerical techniques is associated with the prescription of the boundary conditions (BC) and the assumptions made in simplifying the simulations. The aim of this project is to simulate the blood flow in 2 complex cardiovascular configurations (including an aorta and a coronary bypass graft) and assess the effects of: 1) vessel wall compliance using Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI), and 2) physiologically-accurate outlet BC using Windkessel method. The student will use a series of simulation codes including Ansys-CFX, Ansys-Fluent, OpenFOAM and STAR-CCM+. The FSI could be based on Immersed Boundary Method and Lattice Boltzmann equations could be used in modelling the hemodynamics.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: Strong background in fluid mechanics and/or mathematics.
Desirable: Experience in Biomedical Engineering or Computational Fluid Dynamics.

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleAssessment of Different Hemodynamic Optimisation Criteria for Cardiovascular Prostheses
Supervisors
Description

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has proven its effectiveness as a powerful tool in order to analyse the hemodynamic forces and to obtain the optimal design of different cardiovascular prosthetic designs. Important advances have been made considering a wide variety of fluid dynamics parameters of the blood flow. However, the complexity of the problem has given rise to simplifications and the effects of the different design/geometrical parameters on the hemodynamic forces are still not clear. The aim of this project is to assess the effectiveness of all the existing parameters which are currently used as cost functions in optimisation studies (e.g. TAWSS, OSI, RRT, etc) and explore the possibly of developing new optimisation criteria based on particle hemodynamics and age of fluid concepts. The project will initially use a conventional peripheral bypass graft configuration but later on will test the new optimisation criteria for other configurations too.
The student will use a series of simulation codes including Ansys-CFX, Ansys-Fluent, Design-Xplorer and STAR-CCM+.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

 

Essential: Strong background in fluid mechanics and/or mathematics.
Desirable: Experience in Biomedical Engineering or Computational Fluid Dynamics.

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleFeasibility Study of A Novel Endovascular Treatment of Intracranial Aneurysms
Supervisors
Description

In this project, using advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics and experimental techniques, we propose to investigate the feasibility of a new endovascular treatment procedure based on applying an internal coating to the intracranial aneurysm using a polyurethane-based resin derived from natural resources. The proposed coating material will be delivered using a novel endovascular technique which uses an extra compliant flexible balloon microcatheter with coaxial lumens. Unlike any other aneurysm treatment techniques, this procedure will be based on sealing the orifice neck before applying the coating material. Sealing the orifice neck during the proposed procedure has two main advantages: 1) it stops the blood flow from the parent artery to the aneurysm, and 2) it reduces the risk of haemorrhage in an unlikely event of aneurysm rupture during the procedure. Given the mechanical and biochemical properties of the proposed coating material, following the application to the inner layer of the aneurysm, it will significantly strengthen the aneurysm wall (through reducing von Mises aneurysm wall stress) and consequently, would avoid its further growth and/or rupture.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: Strong background in experimental or numerical fluid mechanics.
Desirable: Experience in Biomedical Engineering or Computational Fluid Dynamics.

PhD Specialist AreaBioengineering
TitleAdvanced digital image processing for Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Supervisors
Description

Technology in building design, simulation and intelligence in buildings are well-represented and making headlines with Building Information Modelling (BIM). However, BIM for existing buildings are much unexplored and under researched. In addition, there is little known about how existing buildings could improve sustainable living for the community; and little is done to utilise BIM to explore the possibilities to improve building sustainability. Digitised building-survey information by 3D laser scanning and the efficient image processing is core to generate BIM models.

This project aims to establish an innovative image processing tool to integrate digital information obtained from a variety of digital imaging techniques, for example, 3D laser scanning, high-resolution colour imaging and spectral imaging. Advanced image processing involves management of point cloud data and spectral imaging data, their visualisation and image registration.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/
 
•Knowledge of Building Information Modelling (BIM)
•Computational skills in image processing and experiences in higher-level languages, such as C, Matlab, are required.
•Knowledge in physics and mathematical background.
•Experience of image acquisition will be useful.

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleAssessing global bioenergy potential
Supervisors
Description

The biomass resource model is a spreadsheet based model developed at the University of Manchester to assess the bioenergy resource potential of a particular country by using a standard set of readily available data. This model has been applied in detail to the United Kingdom to investigate the potential future availability of biomass resources and how this interfaces with food production, industrial trends, population growth and trade characteristics.

The model has also been applied to Brazil to demonstrate the plausibility, in principle, of using it to generate similar results in a different context. Validation of the Brazilian case has been more limited that the UK case and this project will start by critically examining the existing model and considering how it may need to be adapted for different countries with different characteristics e.g. for exporters of biomass, countries with significant low grade land etc. It is envisaged that it will be possible to adapt the model to a small number of different 'country types' and that this will result in a small number of model 'variants'. The model variants will then be applied to different countries globally in order to build up a comprehensive picture of the net availability of globally traded biomass, when individual country constraints and own use are taken into account. This information is important for strategic policy development related to efficient biomass resource utilisation. This information is important for strategic policy development related to efficient biomass resource utilisation.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleAviation and Climate Change: exploring mitigation options different geographical scales
Supervisors
Description

The main aim of this dissertation topic is to explore the potential effectiveness of currently available CO2 mitigation options for the aviation sector, including all technical, operational and demand-side measures. The assessment will be quantitative but include stakeholder input, and seek to establish detailed timeframes for feasible mitigation measures at different scales – from global to national, and in the context of the Paris Agreement and the International Civil Aviation Organisations policies (or suggested measures) on emissions trading

Skills

Quantitative, and openness to interdisciplinary techniques.

Background in CO2 mitigation or environmental science would be advantageous.

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleAviation development in Latin America: compatibility with the Paris Agreement.
Supervisors
Description

The global aviation industry is continuing to grow rapidly, with few technologies on the horizon for decarbonising the sector. In recent years, there has been considerable attention paid to developing a global emissions trading scheme for the sector, but as yet this is not operational. As a result, and despite a trading scheme operating in the EU, CO2 from the aviation sector is increasing year on year.

This project will identify an area of rapid development of the aviation industry (e.g. Latin America), and conduct an in-depth study of markets and technologies that may influence the sector over the coming 10 years, whilst at the same time considering overarching climate change objectives of relevance to the case study region or country. It will pay particularly attention to how developments in large emerging economies influence growth rates, or indeed the role of strong links between particular countries in supporting rates of growth (or otherwise).

One of the constraints on change within the aviation industry is the dominance of two main manufacturers, where aircraft designs change incrementally over time. The role of emerging manufacturers within the case study area will also form part of this research, considering whether or not it is feasible that new lower-carbon designs could be incorporated into the global fleet.

Finally, the project will develop scenarios of technology development, operational and market change, in the context of climate change goals, and in light of other academic analysis, to consider whether aviation development in the region is consistent with the climate change objectives to be set at the forthcoming Conference of the Parties in 2015.

Skills

Physical sciences/engineering/geography with an interdisciplinary perspective. Some experience of economic analysis, market development, social science or innovation studies would be an advantage. The student should have a degree in a quantitative subject and have strong quantitative analysis and communication skills.

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleCarbon emissions from a power system with high-penetration of spatially distributed renewables
Supervisors
Description

Power networks connected with high levels of intermittent renewables bring challenges to the system operator in balancing supply and demand. Hence it is essential to develop systems that are capable of enhancing operational resilience of the power network.  The project will analyse the operation of national power system with a high penetration of renewable generating capacity such as wind, solar, tidal and wave energy to establish the CO2 emissions associated with the power system. Intermittent supply will be simulated from generating portfolios that are diverse in both generating technology and spatial distribution across the UK. Power supply from each renewable technology will draw on available resource data, such as with an atmospheric flow model, providing   finer spatial and temporal scale. Power system resilience and carbon emissions displacement will be assessed by analysing appropriate power dispatch through a network model. The findings will be of direct relevance to network operators and policy makers.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleExamining the potential for decarbonisation within extended supply chains
Supervisors
Description

The extension of modern supply chains to encompass numerous individual, geographically distinct, stages is a feature of the globalisation process. While this process has had the advantage of allowing manufacturers to benefit from cheaper labour markets, it has also arguably increased the emissions associated with the provision of goods and services by increasing the distance goods are transported and (in many cases) the energy required to service this demand. There are a number of opportunities for supply chains to decarbonise including reducing the speed to cargo ships (termed slow steaming). However this has the additional impact of reducing the frequency of deliveries which as a consequence, will require additional ships to service a route. By using indicative case studies this project will identify the elements in modern supply chains which may help or hinder such decarbonisation elements.

This may include identification of the product types and supply chains legs which have the greatest capacity to absorb the effects of a reduction in ship speed such as the existence of unnecessary storage periods. It is envisioned that this project would identify rational means of modifying the structure and behaviour of modern supply chains in order to make slow steaming (amongst other measures) more feasible.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/ 

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleHeating and Cooling Loads in a Changing Climate
Supervisors
Description

The PhD will explore how daily electricity load profiles for heating and cooling in buildings (domestic or commercial) may change in response to both socio-technical changes and climate impacts. Climate projections indicate that in the future, summer temperatures will increase which coupled with the urban heat island effect may encourage or perhaps even necessitate the adoption and use of cooling technologies, thereby increasing loads on power networks. The proportion of commercial buildings with air conditioning is predicted to increase and there is significant potential for domestic consumers to deploy cooling equipment in their homes, creating additional load during peak times.

The project will explore the potential size of this increase determined by alternative technologies and use patterns, the main output will be an understanding of future weather dependent electricity load profiles in order to assess their impacts on the power network.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Quantitative modelling skills; in particular familiarity and experience in using energy simulation models and Matlab.

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleShipping, Bioresources and Technology Change
Supervisors
Description

Bioenergy resources are expected to make a significant contribution to energy system decarbonisation. How these resources will be transported and traded, and how this can occur without off-setting any CO2 savings made through their combustion, is key to successful decarbonisation.

This project will assess the range of bioresources available and undertake a detailed study of the most likely modes of water-based and land-based transport available to deliver these resources to the end users, quantifying CO2 emissions under a range of scenarios. The study will be linked directly to an EPSRC funded project entitled Shipping in Changing Climates.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaEnergy Systems
TitleA Numerical Model of Molten Particle Deposition in Gas Turbine Cooling Channels
Supervisors
Description

This project focuses on the degradation of gas turbine and nozzle guide vane cooling channels due to the deposition of molten particulates. Internal cooling channels are incorporated into first stage nozzle guide vanes and blades in order to permit operation high combustor exit temperatures. Such high temperatures translate to an improvement in the engine’s thermal efficiency, but increase the risk of foreign particulate becoming molten and depositing within the serpentine cooling channels. The effect is twofold: firstly the increased surface roughness of the walls modifies the heat transferred to the passing gas; secondly, there is a reduction in the effectiveness of the external film cooling as the flow rate of the exiting coolant is reduced. The damage is a long-term effect of operation in dusty or ash-laden climes that reduces the normal operating life of an engine.

The change of state of a foreign particle as it takes on heat is highly dependent on its physicochemical properties; the rate of deposition is dependent both on the geometry of the channels and operational effects such as the Coriolis force due to blade rotation. The overall aim of this project is to develop a numerical model of particle deposition that accounts for these effects. There is scope within the project to perform validation through an established experimental facility within MACE. The potential impact of this project is to enable better predictions of gas turbine engine cost-of-ownership in harsh environments.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Gas Turbine Thermodynamics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Numerical modelling / CFD
  • Background knowledge of C++ (for OpenFoam)
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleActive Noise Shielding with Uncertainties
Supervisors
Description

The problem of noise reduction appears in many engineering applications. In the active noise shielding, additional sound sources are introduced in such a way that the total acoustic field in the protected domain is equivalent to noise attenuation. In industrial applications, this approach often requires too many secondary sources and their implementation becomes unrealistic. In the project the number of controls should be significantly reduced with the use of probabilistic and stochastic methods. The key idea is that preliminary measurements can be used to calculate basis functions adapted to each specific problem. These functions can be used to predict and approximate the most probable noise under uncertainties. This approach can be especially efficient with the use of the novel potential-based approach to active sound control. The results of the project can be used, in particular, for the reduction of noise propagating from industrial plants.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Foundations of Partial Differential Equations.
  • Programming skills (MATLAB is preferable).
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleAssessment of Different Hemodynamic Optimisation Criteria for Cardiovascular Prostheses
Supervisors
Description

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has proven its effectiveness as a powerful tool in order to analyse the hemodynamic forces and to obtain the optimal design of different cardiovascular prosthetic designs. Important advances have been made considering a wide variety of fluid dynamics parameters of the blood flow. However, the complexity of the problem has given rise to simplifications and the effects of the different design/geometrical parameters on the hemodynamic forces are still not clear. The aim of this project is to assess the effectiveness of all the existing parameters which are currently used as cost functions in optimisation studies (e.g. TAWSS, OSI, RRT, etc) and explore the possibly of developing new optimisation criteria based on particle hemodynamics and age of fluid concepts. The project will initially use a conventional peripheral bypass graft configuration but later on will test the new optimisation criteria for other configurations too.
The student will use a series of simulation codes including Ansys-CFX, Ansys-Fluent, Design-Xplorer and STAR-CCM+.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

 

Essential: Strong background in fluid mechanics and/or mathematics.
Desirable: Experience in Biomedical Engineering or Computational Fluid Dynamics.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleBi-Level Multi-objective Optimisation with Uncertainties
Supervisors
Description

In the real design a Decision Maker is capable of analysing and taking the decision on the basis of only several candidate-solutions. Therefore, an efficient representation and analysis of the entire Pareto frontier is very important. A trade-off between the number of Pareto solutions to be considered and the information on the entire Pareto frontier should be addressed. A recently developed Directed Search Domain (DSD) algorithm proved to be efficient to tackle this problem.

In the bi-level optimization two multiobjective optimization (MOO) problems are considered simultaneously. These two problems are supposed to be complex enough in order not to be combined in one problem. This case is quite typical in the real industrial multidisciplinary design. One MOO problem is supposed to be the master problem. The optimality with respect to the other problem is considered as a constraint for the master one. The DSD approach should be modified for the bi-level MOO. Multiobjective optimisation under uncertainties will be considered in the project. The trade-off between robustness and optimality will also be addressed. The approach suggested in should be extended to the presence of uncertainties which can be taken into account by probability methods. The Optimal Prediction method will also be applied.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Knowledge on optimisation methods
  • Programming skills
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleBuilding ventilation and thermal behaviour in hot climates
Supervisors
Description

Providing adequate cooling for buildings in hot climates consumes significant amounts of energy.  There is a need to examine various natural ventilation and passive cooling technologies to design building and building systems that can reduce this energy demand.  Some of these solutions maybe based on vernacular building design, making use of features that have evolved over time to give comfortable living conditions in challenging climates.  Other solutions will rely on the latest technological developments in efficient cooling systems and renewable energy sources.  The performance of buildings, building features and cooling systems will be examined using various modelling approaches.  The aim will be to produce guidance on the best use of traditional building designs and approaches combined with modern techniques to deliver efficient building systems.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Ability to apply mathematical techniques in solving physical or engineering problems.
Knowledge of building services or building physics
Skills in computer programming and/or use of numerical models

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleCFD Investigation of Tidal-Stream Turbines in Waves
Supervisors
Description

The project will use in-house and commercial CFD codes, as well as simpler blade-element momentum theory, to investigate the performance and establish a suitable modelling protocol for marine turbines in waves.

The project will:
• examine different CFD turbine representations (blade-resolved, actuator-disc, actuator-line);
• evaluate the response to regular, solitary and random waves, as well as the “NewWave” approach for extreme loads;
• compare with existing experimental data (loads and wake velocity) from the wave-current flume in Manchester and elsewhere;
• examine the influence of turbine operating strategy (speed control) on load mitigation;
• develop suitable models for use in semi-analytical blade-element momentum models.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics)
  • Fortran or C/C++ programming
  • Engineering, physics or maths degree
  • Understanding of theoretical fluid mechanics
  • Ability to write in scientific English
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleComputational Modelling of Dust Cloud Generation
Supervisors
Description

This project will focus on comparing a number of numerical approaches to modelling the generation of dust clouds. Dust clouds are created when a shear layer passes across a sediment bed, mobilising loose particles causing them to become airborne. Lighter particles remain in the air, reaching altitudes of up to several kilometres in the case of naturally-created dust storms, while heavier particles fall back to the ground, causing the further mobilisation of loose particles through a process called saltation bombardment.

Dust clouds are harmful to society in many ways, from health-related issues to vehicle wear. To better protect against these problems, it is important to fully understand the properties of the dust that is mobilised, and the sorting by which it undergoes through gravity. This will be carried out through the numerical investigation of the interaction of shear flows and vortices with a free surface. The overall aim of this project is to assess a range of approaches to modelling this problem on the basis of their accuracy in characterising the properties of desert dust clouds.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Strong fluid mechanics knowledge
  • Two-phase flow
  • Strong programming skills
  • Numerical modelling
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleDetermining the effectiveness of bubbles for drug delivery
Supervisors
Description

Over the last decade micrometre sized bubbles have been developed with the aim of delivering drugs to cells for gene therapy and cancer treatment. The mechanisms of bubble-driven delivery are becoming evident, but the quantities of drug delivered and the effectiveness of the delivery event remains difficult to determine. This project will use a combination of numerical methods to model both the bubble dynamics and drug delivery mechanisms. The effect of key parameters (ultrasound, bubble shell properties etc.) will be explored, and the role of multi-bubble shielding in limiting drug uptake will be considered.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Programming skills (Fortran, C, Python, Matlab or similar)
  • High degree of proficiency in mathematics and continuum mechanics
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleDevelopment and Implementation of Potential-based Immersed Boundary Method
Supervisors
Description

The Immersed Boundary Method (IBM) allows Cartesian grids to be applied to predict flows around bodies with complex boundaries. This idea is very attractive because it allows the generation of complex curvilinear grids to be avoided. To retain the accuracy of prediction, source terms equivalent to the boundary conditions on the body are to be implemented. The approach should be combined with the method of Difference Potentials (DPM) to increase its efficiency. The DPM allows a boundary value problem to be reduced to a boundary problem in a quite general formulation without the knowledge of Green’s function. The combined method will be as fast as the explicit IBM, whilst CFL condition is unlimited as in the implicit IBM. In other words, the combined method will be implicit but the inversion of the operator should be as fast as in the explicit IBC. If successful, the method can be widely used because of its fundamental structure.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Computational Fluid Dynamics, Numerical Methods,
Partial Differential Equations

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleDevelopment of A Novel Biomedical Engineering Kit to Fight Obesity
Supervisors
Description

The aim of this research project is for the first time to design, develop and test a novel engineering kit which would play an important tool in fighting obesity in the general public, particularly in children and adolescents. This portable experimental kit would replicate the pulsatile blood flow in an accurate human cardiovascular system, simulating one of the three underlying health issues associated with obesity namely high blood pressure, high blood sugar and lack of physical activity. The novelty and creative aspects of this project is the development of a method to visualise the above features in an in vitro setup. This requires original research in both measurement techniques and also fluid flow. Using the expertise available in the School of MACE at the University of Manchester, the Computed Tomography (CT) scan from the chest of a healthy individual (using an existing database available to the supervisory team) will be used to manufacture sets of state-of-the-art transparent, accurate and flexible silicon models. Some additional equipment used in  this project include: a pulsatile pump; a high definition camera; an iPad for monitoring the output; a set of accessory kit with extra tubing; and a fluid with properties similar to the blood. This is an exciting project with engineering design and innovation at the heart of research. It also has potential for significant impact on the lives of many people through raising awareness about the consequences of obesity and poor diet.

Skills

Essential: Strong background in Fluid Mechanics.
Desirable: Background in Biomedical Engineering or Experimental Fluid Mechanics.

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleEfficient Meshing in Complex Domains using Particle Methods
Supervisors
Description

Conventional methods in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) require careful mesh generation strategies for accurate and robust simulation. For three dimensional problems in complex geometries mesh generation can be particularly time-consuming and cumbersome, even for expert users. The use of particle numerical methods simplifies the distribution of computational nodes given the minimal requirements on node connectivity and topology. This project will determine optimal particle distribution strategies for numerical simulation using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics. Applications will be taken from complex flow geometries in marine and nuclear energy.  

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Programming skills (Fortran, C, Python, Matlab or similar)
  • High degree of proficiency in mathematics and continuum mechanics
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleExperimental and numerical analysis of electrospray for novel nanotechnology applications
Supervisors
Description

When a strong electric field (~106 V/m) is applied to a conductive or dielectric liquid surface the liquid will form a cone like shape, with a jet emanating from the apex of the cone. Due to varicose wave instabilities on its surface, the jet subsequently breaks up into a mono-disperse spray that consists of micro to nano-metre sized charged droplets. This phenomenon is known as electrospray in the cone jet mode.

The electrospray process can be exploited in a wide range of applications from spacecraft propulsion to drug delivery technology.  The design of technologies exploiting electrospray systems involves the design of microfluidic nozzle systems that requires detailed modelling of the electrospray process. This project would involve experimental and numerical investigation of flow phenomena applicable to technologies exploiting electrospray atomisation, demonstrating the feasibility of utilizing numerical techniques in the design/ development of electrospray nozzles.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

• Experience with practical experimental work essential
• Some experience with microfluidic technologies desirable
• Some experience with numerical modelling techniques of Multiphysics systems and Multiphase flows desirable.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleExperimental Measurements of Hemodynamics Conditions in Different Patient-Specific Cardiovascular Models
Supervisors
Description

The School of MACE at the University of Manchester has excellent track-record in numerical and experimental fluid mechanics. The aim of this project is to utilise the expertise and facilities available at MACE in experimental fluid mechanics to develop an in vitro setup in order to generate a reliable dataset which includes the main fluid flow/hemodynamics parameters in a number of patient-specific phantoms/models. The models will initially be based on the existing CT-scans of some of the common sections of the cardiovascular system (aorta, carotid bifurcation, etc) taken from healthy individuals and later could be extended to common cardiovascular lesions (aneurysms, bypass grafts, etc) taken from patients. In this project, the student will be using Particle Image Velocimeter (PIV) and Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA) to obtain data. In addition to the phantoms, the setup will include a special pulsatile pump which will pump the fluid using a specified waveform, corresponding to a patient-specific condition. The dataset generated from this research will provide an invaluable source of data for validation of numerical simulations.

Skills

Essential: Strong background in Fluid Mechanics.
Desirable: Background in Biomedical Engineering or Experimental Fluid Mechanics.

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleFeasibility Study of A Novel Endovascular Treatment of Intracranial Aneurysms
Supervisors
Description

In this project, using advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics and experimental techniques, we propose to investigate the feasibility of a new endovascular treatment procedure based on applying an internal coating to the intracranial aneurysm using a polyurethane-based resin derived from natural resources. The proposed coating material will be delivered using a novel endovascular technique which uses an extra compliant flexible balloon microcatheter with coaxial lumens. Unlike any other aneurysm treatment techniques, this procedure will be based on sealing the orifice neck before applying the coating material. Sealing the orifice neck during the proposed procedure has two main advantages: 1) it stops the blood flow from the parent artery to the aneurysm, and 2) it reduces the risk of haemorrhage in an unlikely event of aneurysm rupture during the procedure. Given the mechanical and biochemical properties of the proposed coating material, following the application to the inner layer of the aneurysm, it will significantly strengthen the aneurysm wall (through reducing von Mises aneurysm wall stress) and consequently, would avoid its further growth and/or rupture.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: Strong background in experimental or numerical fluid mechanics.
Desirable: Experience in Biomedical Engineering or Computational Fluid Dynamics.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleFloating offshore wind turbine platform with wave absorber stabilisation
Supervisors
Description

Floating offshore wind turbines are of spar or semi-sub form. New methods have been developed to predict internal loads, response and mooring loads for operational and extreme wave conditions. These will be applied and compared with experiment. However in this project the addition of vertical tubes will be explored to provide wave absorption as oscillating water columns. These may be external to the existing columns (retro-fitted) or internal within the body of the existing columns. These are passive wave absorbers which will reduce wave heights and hence loading on the columns. This may be tested by experiment and linear diffraction modelling. There is also the option of generating electricity from the oscillating water columns although this is a secondary consideration.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleFloating platform for offshore substation and sheltered docking for support ships
Supervisors
Description

Substations for offshore wind farms are necessary for high voltage conversion for transmission of electricity to the shore. These are usually fixed jacket structures although large floaters are being developed in Japan. The aim of this project is to identify large floating structures which can support substations and provide safe docking for supply ships. This requires structures which head naturally into waves and which absorb wave energy through flaps or ‘ducks’ to minimise loading and produce calm docking conditions in the stern (downwave). The absorbed wave energy may also be used to generate electricity. Control of direction particularly in currents may be through control of the flaps or through side thrusters. Time domain linear diffraction modelling will be used to model wave structure interaction and small scale experiments will be undertaken in the wide wave flume for validation and assessment.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleFlood flows, buildings, vegetation and debris
Supervisors
Description

Using a combination of laboratory experiments and numerical modelling, the flow of flood waters around buildings, vegetation and other obstacles will be examined. In addition, the way debris is carried around such environments, and the impacts the debris has on buildings and structures will be quantified. Current knowledge and guidelines for flood resistance is limited, particularly with regard to the effect of debris in the flows, and yet these clearly cause a significant amount of the damage as well as affecting flows by causing blockages.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Candidates should have a degree in engineering, science or mathematics, with a knowledge of fluid dynamics and some experience of laboratory experiments and/or numerical modelling.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleFlow-induced vibration in rod bundles: an experimental and computational benchmark study
Supervisors
Description

The study addresses flow-induced vibration in tubular rod bundles in parallel flow, a configuration of interest for the nuclear industry for light water nuclear reactors, notably generation 3 and 4 pressurized water nuclear reactors. As a result of the fluid-structure interaction, fuel rods in nuclear reactors vibrate and occasionally come into contact. This causes mechanical fatigue and structural damage (so called fretting wear), shortening the fuel residence time in the reactor. A better understanding and predicting capability of fretting wear in nuclear fuel rods would yield more durable fuel. Using existing infrastructures at the University of Manchester (notably, the large scale thermal hydraulics loop and a stereo PIV set up), we will run experiments to resolve both the fluid flow field around the fuel rods and the mechanical response of the vibrating rods, generating a high quality fluid-structure interaction databank for analysis, modeling and numerical benchmarking/simulation.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/ 

• Knowledge and understanding of fluid mechanics
• Basics of flow-induced vibration

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleFlow past flexible obstacles
Supervisors
Description

The interaction of flows with flexible obstacles is important in a range of industrial and environmental flows, including air and water flows past vegetation.  In this project, Lattice Boltzmann methods will be developed to model 3D turbulent flows past arrays of flexible rods and other obstacles.  This will require the modelling of both the fluid flow and the response of the flexible obstacles, with a range of physical properties investigated.  The numerical studies will be supported by laboratory experiments carried out in water flumes. This will involve the design and construction of obstacle arrays, while measurements will be taken using ADVs, video and strain gauges.  Implications for practical applications (e.g. soft flood defences) will be derived.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Ability to apply mathematical techniques in solving physical or engineering problems.
Practical skills in conducting laboratory experiments
Skills in computer programming and/or use of numerical models

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleImprovement of wing aerodynamic at low-Reynolds numbers
Supervisors
Description

The aerodynamic performance of finite wings, such as those used on UAVs, is often hampered by the low Reynolds number at which they operate. In this project, a new passive flow control method which is inspired by the nature will be applied to models of finite wings. Their aerodynamic performance will be evaluated in wind tunnel experiments. Both surface-mounted sensors and PIV will be used to gain an insight of how the flow field is affected. The objectives of this project are to identify the optimal dimension of the passive flow control features and understand the associated flow physics.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Experience with wind tunnel model design and testing as well as PIV.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleIntegrated Engine Fan Noise (turbofan engines)
Supervisors
Description

Engine fans are a key component of modern gas turbine engines. Increasing by-pass ratios have led to large diameters, complex blade geometries and greatly integrated systems. These systems include casings, stator vanes, and acoustic liners. Although this project deals specifically with engine fans, some of the flow and aero-acoustic features are shared by other fans, including industrial installations. The main aims of the project are:

1. To carry out a full review of engine fan aerodynamic/aeroacoustic problems, in isolation and installed form. To develop suitable models for the prediction of the aerodynamics and aero-acoustics of isolated fans, encased fans, and fans encased into a lined duct, with and without stator vanes.
2. To validate the computational models with experimental data, or where experimental data are not available, to provide a rational method for code validation.
3. To provide a low-order method that can be integrated with flight mechanics calculations or as a design tool.
4. To provide practical conclusions regarding the aero-acoustics and possibly a code-of-practice.

It is not envisioned to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as the main tool, although it is expected that the prospective student understands the methods of CFD and will become capable of applying these methods to partial configurations in order to assess lower-order methods

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleInvestigation of Fluid-Structure Interaction and Fretting Wear in Nuclear Fuel Bundles
Supervisors
Description

This study addresses the fluid-structure interaction in fuel rod bundles of light water nuclear reactors, notably generation 3 and 4 pressurized water nuclear reactors. As a result of the fluid-structure interaction, fuel rods in nuclear reactors vibrate and occasionally come into contact. This causes mechanical fatigue and structural damage (so called fretting wear), shortening the fuel residence time in the reactor. A better understanding and predicting capability of fretting wear in nuclear fuel rods would yield more durable fuel.

Using existing infrastructures at MACE (notably, the large scale thermal hydraulics loop and a stereo PIV set up) experiments will be performed to resolve both the fluid flow field and the mechanical response of the fuel rods, generating a fluid-structure interaction databank for modeling and numerical simulation.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleLocal scour induced by turbulent jets
Supervisors
Description

The project will involve CFD and experimental investigation of single and multiple near-wall jets, including sediment transport and scour. Applications include tidal barrages and marine or river outfalls.

A physical model will be developed in a water flume which will allow the discharge of single and multiple submerged jets at different heights over a particle bed. In some experiments swirl will be incorporated to represent the effects of turbines.

Parallel CFD studies will be conducted to provide more detailed flow behaviour and  improve the modelling of sediment transport and scour. The CFD will use an in-house code (STREAM), a 3-d finite-volume code that can couple flow simulation with both free-surface and mobile-bed evolution using surface-fitting moving meshes. Both bed-load and suspended-load modes of transport are included.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Engineering, physics or maths degree
  • Understanding of theoretical fluid mechanics
  • CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics)
  • Ability to write in scientific English
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleModelling shingle impacts on coastal defences
Supervisors
Description

Concrete coastal defences are abraded by shingle moved by wave action, but there is a lack of detailed knowledge or guidance about the precise motion of the shingle.  This project will use and develop the new modelling approach of Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) to model the movement of shingle and other sediment under the action of breaking waves, and the consequent impact on coastal defences. The modelling will be supported by experiments in a laboratory wave flume.  This research will help develop more effective and efficient designs for coastal defences, as well as improving our understanding of natural shingle behaviour and beach morphology.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/ 

Candidates should have a degree in engineering, science or mathematics, with a knowledge of fluid dynamics and some experience numerical modelling.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleModelling viscoelastic free-surface flows using SPH
Supervisors
Description

Viscoelastic fluids are an important class of non-Newtonian materials and describe many important fluids in biology and industry, such as polymer melts, lubricants, oils, blood, synovial fluid, foodstuffs etc. These fluids are challenging to model given the numerical instabilities that appear at high elasticities, even in the simplest flow geometries. The numerical method Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) is a promising tool for simulating such fluids in more realistic geometries due to its inherent stability and ease at modelling free-surfaces. This project will extend in-house state-of-the-art SPH methods to viscoelastic free-surface flow, allowing insights into fundamental industrial flow processes such as die extrusion, filament stretching and related processes. 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Programming skills (Fortran, C, Python, Matlab or similar)
  • High degree of proficiency in mathematics and continuum mechanics
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleMulti-Fidelity Models for Aerodynamic Noise of Aircraft Components
Supervisors
Description

The strategic aim of the project is to develop low-order models to predict aerodynamic noise from airframe or engine components. The basic scientific problem is concerned with the understanding of how much geometry definition and physical modelling is required to predict the acoustic emissions within a predefined level of accuracy. The item will be defined by geometric parameters, which will be individually assessed. Thence, the problem is moved to the determination of the minimum number of parameters required to predict the noise. Various levels of noise prediction methods will have to be assessed. The aims of the project are:

1. To carry out a full review of wing aerodynamic/aeroacoustic problems, in isolation and installed form; to identify suitable sets of experimental data for the validation of all computational methods.
2. To develop and validate the computational models for a reference component.
3. To develop a parametric study leading to a solution of the problem of “minimum geometry” and “minimum-physics”, with the use of numerical tools such as Kriging, surrogate models, multi-fidelity models.
4. From the above, develop a validated low-order method for acoustics of aircraft components.
5. To produce advancements in the general area of aircraft aero-acoustics, measured in academic publications, theoretical models, and computer codes, as appropriate.

It is envisioned to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is an important tool; it is expected that the prospective student be able to understand the methods of CFD and computational aero-acoustics (CAA).

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/ 

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleNear-wall Boundary Conditions for Large Eddy Simulation
Supervisors
Description

Near-wall turbulence modelling is computationally a very expensive problem. The project is devoted to a novel approach based on non-overlapping domain decomposition. It allows us to avoid calculations of the region with high gradients in the vicinity of the wall while retaining sufficient overall accuracy. The technique has been successfully applied to low-and high Reynolds number RANS models. The domain decomposition is achieved via the transfer of the boundary condition from the wall to an interface boundary. The obtained interface boundary conditions are mesh-independent. They can be used to avoid the computationally expensive resolution of a high-gradient region near the wall. Moreover, once the solution is constructed in the outer region, the near-wall profile can be resolved if required.

In the project, the approach will be extended to essentially unsteady problems and complex geometries. In application to Large Eddy Simulation it will be combined with the mode decomposition techniques such as Proper Orthogonal Decomposition and Dynamic Mode Decomposition to reproduce stochastics in an efficient way. If successful, the results can be widely used for industrial applications.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleNon-Fickian dispersive-reactive transport of contaminants in porous media
Supervisors
Description

Understanding contaminants fate and transport in subsurface environments is the key for designing better remediation schemes for contaminated sites and nuclear waste disposal. Classically, migration and dispersion of contaminants in geological systems are described by continuum Fickian advection-dispersion equations (ADE) models. These fail to capture and predict non-Fickian (anomalous) transport in the subsurface, observed frequently in laboratory and field experiments. Non-Fickian transport is characterised with unusual early breakthrough times and appears to be related to specific structure of the pore space which controls the transport. From one side, it has been shown that the continuous time random walk (CTRW) models are successful in describing non-Fickian transport, yet without explicit account for microstructure. From another side, it has been shown that the pore network models (PNM) are successful in describing pore space structures of arbitrary complexity in statistically representative sense. The aim of this project is to further our understanding in the non-Fickian transport of contaminants in porous media by combining the strengths of CTRW and PNM. The microstructure of select rock, e.g. sandstone, will be characterised by X-ray computed tomography (XCT) to allow for construction of up-scaled PNM. XCT will also be used to image single-phase flow through this rock (4D imaging) to allow for basic PNM validation. The application of CTRW approach to PNM will require the development of in-house software, which is an essential part of the work. Validation of dispersive reactive transport of contaminants will be performed by conducting column experiments which simulate rainfall infiltration and source term release scenario. This is a multi-disciplinary project promising important advances in academic knowledge and industrial practice.

  

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Excellent mathematical and programming skills; Understanding reactive transport in porous media; Knowledge of existing analytical techniques; Experience with experimental techniques in soil and rock analysis.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleNumerical Simulation of Complex Cardiovascular Geometries using Advanced Boundary Conditions
Supervisors
Description

The numerical simulations in the field of cardiovascular biomechanics still lack accuracy and reliability. One of the reasons for large discrepancies between different numerical techniques is associated with the prescription of the boundary conditions (BC) and the assumptions made in simplifying the simulations. The aim of this project is to simulate the blood flow in 2 complex cardiovascular configurations (including an aorta and a coronary bypass graft) and assess the effects of: 1) vessel wall compliance using Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI), and 2) physiologically-accurate outlet BC using Windkessel method. The student will use a series of simulation codes including Ansys-CFX, Ansys-Fluent, OpenFOAM and STAR-CCM+. The FSI could be based on Immersed Boundary Method and Lattice Boltzmann equations could be used in modelling the hemodynamics.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: Strong background in fluid mechanics and/or mathematics.
Desirable: Experience in Biomedical Engineering or Computational Fluid Dynamics.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleParametric CFD study of heat transfer and drag in heat exchangers for a range of oblique angles of attack
Supervisors
Description

Flow across or parallel to tube bundles type heat exchanger in general is of great interest to the power generation industry. Optimal configurations seek maximum heat transfer and minimum friction. Over 10 years the CFD group carried out development and validation of turbulence models for parallel and transverse flow directions (PhD theses of S. Benhamadouche, I. Afgan, A. West). A peculiar behavior in flow through tube bundles or rows of cylinders is the biased and bistable flow, where the flow switches direction intermittently.

Over the years a lot of work has been done reporting this flow behavior. However, there is a lot to be done in terms of understanding this flow behavior and quantifying its effects on conjugate heat transfer which is the primary function of any heat exchanger. Experiment based correlations are crude interpolations between 0 and 90 degrees Angles of Attack (AoA) data, as end-wall effects dominate when the tube bundle is placed at an oblique angle in the duct, which does represent the real homogenous situation of large heat exchangers with several hundreds of very long tubes. Confidence in CFD predictions is now sufficient to use numerical simulations as an experimental rig to undertake parametric studies for a range of oblique flows with no end walls (using periodic boundary conditions to represent infinity) and produce tables of heat transfer and drag for a range of real AoAs.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Masters degree in a closely relevant field (Mechanical, Aerospace or Civil Engineering, Mathematics, Chemical engineering or Applied Physics)

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitlePassive control of shockwave-boundary layer interaction
Supervisors
Description

Wing buffet caused by shock-boundary layer interaction affects the aerodynamic performance of supersonic and hypersonic vehicles significantly. In this project, a new passive flow control method which potentially is capable of mitigating the negative impact of shock-boundary layer interaction on wing aerodynamic performance will be developed. The aerodynamic performance of the models will be evaluated in wind tunnel experiments. Advanced flow diagnostic techniques, including high-speed Schlieren, pressure-sensitive paints, PIV, will be used to gain an insight of how the flow field is affected. The objectives of this project are to identify the optimal dimension of the passive flow control features and understand the associated flow physics.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Experience with wind tunnel model design and testing as well as PIV 

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitlePropulsion technologies for nano-satellite systems
Supervisors
Description

The major limitation on nanosatellite missions currently is the absence of high performance propulsion systems capable of providing significant manoeuvrability with attendant high delta vee to perform key capabilities such as de-orbit, formation flying and low earth orbit (LEO) maintenance. There are a number of high performant electric propulsion technologies, including pulsed plasma thrusters (PPTs) and colloid electrospray thrusters (CETs) that have yet to be flight validated, particularly on such small platforms. These thruster technologies are far from fully developed and in particular in the case of PPTs essential work on the magneto hydrodynamic modelling to optimise the plasma acceleration and improve performance is required. In addition to this , modelling of the interaction of the thruster plume (plasma or ionized, for CETs) with the spacecraft is required in order to integrate these propulsion systems into nano-satellite platforms.  This project will focus on the development of on-orbit validation techniques with a focus on practical testing of systems in a representative environment this will be supported by numerical modelling & simulation.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/ 

• Some experience with practical experimental work
• Experience with numerical modelling techniques desirable
• Proficient in the use of MatLab

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleRapid calculation of loads on general 3D bodies in breaking aerated waves
Supervisors
Description

Determination of wave loads on 3D bodies (fixed, floating and moored) is an important problem in offshore engineering. Forces due to breaking waves are particularly uncertain and difficult to model. The recent development of an accurate free-surface numerical method for breaking waves (called Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics - SPH) combined with the Froude-Krylov approximation for total load calculation offers promising predictions of 3D breaking wave forces alongside considerable gains in computational speed. This PhD project will extend the SPH-Froude-Krylov approach to the calculation of loads on more complex (possibly multiply connected) 3D bodies and will include the effect of water aeration and air cushions.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Programming skills (Fortran, C, Python, Matlab or similar)
  • High degree of proficiency in mathematics and continuum mechanics.
PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleReverse engineering pterosaurs: Computer insights into the evolution of gliding and flying
Supervisors
Description

The evolution of flight has attracted the attention of many prominent scientists and generated many theories. It is thought that flight has evolved at least four times, in the insects, pterosaurs, birds and bats. Pterosaurs, close relatives of the dinosaurs, evolved flight approximately 200 million years ago.  They reached enormous sizes, with some of the last forms being the largest flying animals ever to inhabit the Earth, having wingspans of over 9 metres. Fossils of pterosaurs tend to be confined to exceptional fossil deposits formed under highly specific circumstances, resulting in a generally poor fossil record, and a particular paucity of transitional forms. Furthermore, as fossils do not preserve behaviour or muscle, it can be difficult to discriminate between a poor flyer and a good glider. This project will shed new light on the evolution of flight by building digital mock-ups of pterosaurs and studying their flight characteristics in a virtual wind tunnel. By combining modern knowledge in aerospace engineering with state-of-the-art simulation technology, the project will provide new engineering insight into the biomechanics of flying and gliding. Furthermore, novel research outputs will encourage future aerospace engineers to incorporate bio-inspired features in their designs, reducing the environmental impact of aviation.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: Computer programming, computational fluid dynamics and the finite element method
Desirable: Visualisation, high performance computing and biomechanics.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleThe Computation of Complex Pulsated Flows, using High-Reynolds-number models of Turbulence.
Supervisors
Description

Pulsation is increasingly used as a means of flow control, especially in cases which involve flow separation. One of the PhD projects within the turbulence mechanics group, which is now at its final stages, has been focussed on the computation of two-dimensional pulsated flows with flow separation, in pipe expansions, backward-facing steps and also diffusers, see Welink: http://tmgflows.mace.manchester.ac.uk/. Low-Reynolds-number models of turbulence have been employed, which require the use of very fine meshes.

The work has shown that to reproduce the effects of pulsation it becomes necessary to use non-isotropic models of turbulence, meaning models which take into account the fact that the strength of turbulence fluctuations is different in different directions. The objective of this project will be to replace the low-Reynolds-number models of turbulence with the more economical high-Reynolds-number versions, together with the groups advanced wall-function strategies and then to extend the computations to more complex three-dimensional applications.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleWaves, shingle and coastal defences
Supervisors
Description

Concrete coastal defences are abraded by shingle moved by wave action, but there is a lack of detailed knowledge or guidance about the precise motion of the shingle or the abrasion of the concrete structures. Large parts of the UK coastline are protected by concrete defences, and shingle is present along a large portion of this coastline

Climate change is expected to result in more frequent storm events and stronger waves, so it is essential to have a better understanding of the way shingle abrades coastal defences in order to produce efficient and effective designs. The project will use laboratory experiments, supported by field observations and numerical modelling, to examine how waves move shingle, and the consequent effects on model defences.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Candidates should have a degree in engineering, science or mathematics, with some experience of laboratory experiments and ideally some knowledge of waves and concrete.

PhD Specialist AreaFluid Dynamics
TitleAdvances in coupled hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of clays under thermal effects
Supervisors
Description

An experimental investigation and numerical modelling of hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of clays under thermal effects will be carried out in this research. The PhD project involves the development of an experimental set up with advanced capabilities to measure the pore water pressure, consolidation settlement and temperature distribution.

The experimental programme includes studying the behaviour of different type of clays under cyclic thermal loadings. The aim of the research is to obtain an improved understanding of the thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of clays that can lead to a new theoretical description of thermally coupled phenomena. Integration of chemistry of clay-water system in the overall hydro-mechanical behaviour is of particular focus of the theoretical developments.  Theoretical formulation developed will be extended to derive improved constitute relationships and incorporated in a numerical model and applied to study the performance of energy geo-structures under long term cyclic heating and cooling. The research outcomes will provide key knowledge gaps between chemistry and coupled thermal, hydraulic and mechanical behaviour in the emerging field of Energy Geotechnics.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

•Experience of experimental investigation in relevant areas.
•Excellent knowledge of laboratory methods of soil behaviour.
•Good knowledge of the numerical methods in engineering applications.

PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleAdvances in water and chemical flow properties of compacted clays
Supervisors
Description

Compacted swelling clays have been suggested as a component of Engineered Barrier System in geological disposal of radioactive waste. This research aims to obtain a better understanding of water and chemical flow in compacted clays considering the effects of microstructure and chemical interactions. The project involves a series of experimental and theoretical investigations. Microstructure of compacted swelling clay will be studied and it’s evolution with relative humidity will be investigated. A model for permeability evolution in compacted swelling clays will be developed. Further developments will include pore network modelling and comparison. 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Excellent knowledge of experimental techniques in soil and rock analysis.
  • Good knowledge of analytical techniques
  • Understanding of flow in porous media
PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleAn experimental study of transport and reactions of chemicals in partially saturated soils.
Supervisors
Description

The aim of this research will be improving the knowledge on mechanisms controlling the fate of chemical and gas species in soil and rock under partially saturated conditions and the importance of geochemistry of clay-water system. This is an important area in various geo-engineering areas including geological disposal of high level radioactive waste, carbon dioxide interaction in rock in geological geological sequestration and gas-water exchange processes in geomaterials which is of importance in unconventional gas exploration. The investigation involves studying the chemistry of rock-water system and the interaction of the whole system of gas, soil/rock, water and chemicals.

An experimental set up will be developed to study the gas-water-chemical and rock with the aim to study the adsorption and desorption phenomena. Using datasets generated from a series of tests carried out using the new experimental facilities, theoretical aspects of gas adsorption/desorption in rock and soil will be improved. The project will involve further development and application of a geochemical model for unsaturated geochemical investigation. Aspects of transport and reactions of carbon dioxide in clays in the presence of water will be investigated. Pore scale geochemical processes are of great interest in this research.

There will be opportunities to attend relevant training course for analytical geochemistry and modelling aspects to enhance the knowledge required for delivering the project. The successful candidate will be encouraged to participate in multidisciplinary workshops and conferences. This research involves an extensive experimental developments and research; however, the successful candidate will be supported to develop a good level of understanding and knowledge of the modelling aspects through multidisciplinary interactions and participation in relevant workshops and conferences. 

 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Experience of conducting experimental investigation in relevant areas.
  • Excellent knowledge of experimental methods in soil and rock.
  • Good knowledge of fundamentals of transport processes and thermodynamics.

 

 

 

PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleDynamic interaction between railway tracks and soft subgrades induced by high-speed trains
Supervisors
Description

High-speed rail networks are growing rapidly throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia. The rail track is usually modelled as a beam resting on an elastic half-space that exhibits two critical speeds at which significant dynamic amplification occurs. Specifically, the lower bound of the critical speed is related to the Rayleigh wave velocity of the ground. The upper bound of the critical speed is related to both bending stiffness and mass of the beam and ground. In the presence of standard subgrades, e.g. medium-dense sands or stiff clays, the two critical speeds are fairly close and assume value of the order of 500 m/s, which is normally above current train speeds. However, in correspondence of soft grounds, such as organic soils (i.e. peat) and soft clays, the Rayleigh wave velocity may reach values as low as 40 m/s, which is in the range of the actual speeds of most trains. Driven by the recent development of high-speed networks, the occurrence of resonance-like condition is more likely due to the higher speed of trains, which can reaches value as high as 500 m/s, and the need to have shorter travel distances, which implies crossing soils characterised by poor mechanical properties (i.e. with low Rayleigh velocities). The primary goal of this study is to model the dynamic interaction between rail tracks and soft subgrades, and highlight practical implications for the design of railway tracks for high-speed trains resting on soft soils.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Very strong numerical and analytical skills
PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleEffect of microstructure swelling on the reactive transport of contaminants in clays
Supervisors
Description

Contaminants transport in clays is predominantly via diffusion and can be inhibited by adsorption and geochemical reactions. Important factors for modelling reactive transport - clay dimensional deformation and microstructure changes, i.e. swelling - are not well understood and quantified. Specifically, swelling is known to depend on the water chemistry and temperature and its physical effect is to modify the sizes of diffusion pathways and the surfaces available for reaction with contaminants.

The aim of this project is to advance appropriate reactive transport models by incorporation of swelling and microstructure effects. The research will involve experimental work to further our understanding of and to quantify the dependence of swelling on the water chemistry (e.g. pH) and temperature. This will be used in the development of environment-specific reactive transport models. Reactive transport experiments will then be conducted for model validation. While the research will focus on clay systems, the experimental methodology and the advanced models from the work will find wider applicability to porous media experiencing dimensional changes due to physical and chemical conditions.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Experience with experimental techniques in geomechanics and hydrology;

Understanding reactive transport processes in geomaterials;

Experience with modelling and simulation tools or good programming skills.

PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleHydro-Mechanical Behaviour of Saturated Clays under Thermal Effects
Supervisors
Description

An experimental investigation and numerical modelling of hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of clays under thermal effects will be carried out in this research. The aim is to obtain a better understanding of clay behaviour under non-isothermal conditions which is of importance in various geo-structures such as engineered clay barrier in radioactive waste disposal and thermo-active structures.  The PhD project involves the development of an experimental set up with the capability of measuring the pore water pressure, consolidation settlement and temperature distribution. The experimental programme includes studying the behaviour of different type of clays at different dry densities under cyclic thermal loadings. The results will be used to develop theoretical descriptions of thermally coupled phenomena and integration with chemistry of clay-water system.  Theoretical formulation developed will be extended to derive improved constitute relationships and incorporated in a numerical model and applied to study the performance of energy foundations under long term cyclic heating and cooling. The research outcomes will provide key knowledge gaps between chemistry and coupled thermal, hydraulic and mechanical behaviour in the emerging field of Energy Geotechnics.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Applicants with strong educational background (MSc/MEng in Geotechnical Engineering/ Engineering Geology/Geosciences) and experience in experimental research in soil hydro-mechanical behaviour will be considered for this position. Good knowledge of the numerical methods in engineering applications will be also required.


 

 

 

PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleModelling the erosion of compacted clay barrier and colloid-assisted chemical transport
Supervisors
Description

Compacted swelling clays play an important role as part of Engineered Barrier System (EBS) in the geological concept for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste. An important aspect in the performance assessment of the clay barrier is the erosion of the clay that can happen at the interface with the fractured rock due to the percolation of the water and enhance the potential release of radionuclide to the biosphere. The clay colloid formed during the erosion process can enhance the potential migration of radionuclide to the biosphere.

The aim of the project is to obtain an improved understanding of the key influential processes that are involved in formation of colloid and assisted transport of chemicals at the interface between clay and rock under coupled physical and chemical conditions of the geological disposal repository. Theoretical aspects of the clay colloid formation will be revisited and developed further by considering the physical and geochemical processes of the clay-water-chemical system. The formulation will be implemented within a numerical model and tested against available experimental data collected from the literature. A key component of the work is to establish a sound approach for coupling the geochemistry of water-clay-chemical interaction and colloid formation/transport.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Excellent knowledge of numerical methods. 
  • Excellent computer programming skills. 
  • Good understanding of soil properties and behaviour. 
  • Knowledge of geochemical modelling/reactive transport is desirable.
PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleNumerical modelling for performance-based seismic design of a retaining wall
Supervisors
Description

Retaining walls are often designed using the force-based methods under seismic conditions. These methods are often criticized over their efficacy in idealizing the earthquake effect by applying an additional force which acts even when the earthquake has stopped; as well as being unrealistic, these methods do not provide a very robust design methodology.

Recently the geotechnical engineering community has shown increased interest in bringing a radical change to the design methodology by using a performance-based approach – however, despite the interest, little has been done on this front to cater to the existing problems.

Through this project, it is aimed to develop a relationship between the retaining wall movement and the seismic earth pressure. A meshless method will be used for the study. Through the project it is intended to capture the movement of the retaining wall by devising a simple yet robust numerical methodology so that not only the effects of the seismic earth pressures on the movement of the retaining wall can be ascertained but also the mechanisms of soil-structure interaction.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Excellent computer programming skills, preferably have worked on FE method and have the drive to learn a new method.

PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleNumerical modelling of soil-structure interaction in liquefiable soils
Supervisors
Description

Most of the numerical methods currently in use for modelling SSI in liquefiable soils are based on the Beam on Elastic Foundation approach. This is implemented on the assumption that the reaction forces exerted by the foundation are proportional at every point to the deflection of the foundation at that point and are independent of pressures or deflections produced elsewhere in the foundation. The factor of proportionality between the soil resistance, p, and foundation-soil relative displacement, y, is normally referred to as coefficient of subgrade reaction, ks. Non-linear p-y curves for non-liquefied soils have been developed based on a limited number of full-scale tests carried out on small diameter steel piles subjected to slow-cyclic loading (Reese et al., 1974; Matlock, 1970). Current approaches to construct p-y curves for liquefiable soils consists of multiplying the conventional p-y curves originally developed for non-liquefied soils by a degradation factor (referred to as p-multiplier, mp).

As a result, the existing p-y curves for liquefiable soils exhibit an initial relatively high stiffness and strength which decrease upon shearing. However, this response is in contrast with recent studies that showed that the undrained response of liquefied sands is strain-hardening, that is characterised by practically zero stiffness at low strains, but increasing stiffness upon shearing. This unusual strain-hardening response can be attributed to the tendency of the liquefied soil to dilate upon shearing. In fact, as the liquefied soil tends to dilate, the excess pore water pressure gradually dissipates, which in turn leads to an increasing strength and stiffness upon shearing. Therefore, it is questionable whether the conventional p-y curves can be modified and adopted to model SSI in liquefiable soils since the latter is dependent upon the tendency of the liquefied soil to dilate. This proposed research aims to investigate the soil-structure interaction effects in liquefiable soils and develop novel approaches to model these effects.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Very strong numerical and analytical skills
PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleSeismic performance of pile-supported structures in liquefiable soils
Supervisors
Description

Past and recent post-earthquake site investigations have confirmed that the occurrence of liquefaction conditions still represents one of the most predominant causes of damage to structures after major earthquakes. Despite the extensive research in this field, the effects induced by liquefaction on the soil-structure interaction (SSI) remain still uncertain and inadequately addressed by modern seismic codes.

It is recognised that current theories on pile failure in liquefiable soils fail to explain and/or predict the damage patterns and location of plastic hinges in the piles as observed in post-earthquake field investigations. Furthermore, in a conventional force-based design, the effects induced by liquefaction, namely, lengthening in fundamental period and equivalent viscous damping of the structure-soil system, may significantly reduce the seismic demand experienced by the structure. This apparent beneficial effect due to soil liquefaction suggests that it might be questionable whether the seismic performance of a structure founded in liquefiable soils can be realistically assessed by conventional force-based design approaches.

The goal of this research is to investigate the seismic performance of structures supported on piles during liquefaction phenomena and develop a novel approach for seismic risk assessment of existing structures founded in soils susceptible to liquefaction.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

  • Very strong numerical and analytical skills
PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleTransport of Chemicals in Clay Barriers under Demanding Environments
Supervisors
Description

Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCLs) are widely used in geoenvironmental application for protecting the ground and groundwater from the hazardous chemicals and contaminants sourcing from waste disposal sites and mining activities due to their low permeability and high capacity for retardation of chemicals. It is known that under aggressive chemical environments such as acidic or highly alkaline leachates, the key properties of the GCL, including permeability, can degrade due the chemical interactions between the clay systems and chemicals present in the leachate. This degradation can reduce the effectiveness of GCL and affects the engineering performance of the GCL.
This project aims at obtaining an improved understanding of the behaviour of GCL under demanding chemo-mechanical environment through an experimental investigation and theoretical developments. Interaction of GCLs with inorganic chemicals under a range of salinity and pH will be experimentally studied. A particular focus of the research will be on the alteration of bentonite to improve its properties performance of barriers in terms of hydraulic conductivity, chemical transport and buffering capacity. The results of experimental study will be used to develop a sound theoretical description and numerical model for transport of chemicals and retardation behaviour.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Excellent knowledge of experimental methods in geotechnical/ geoenvironmental engineering.
Good knowledge of clay properties and behaviour.

PhD Specialist AreaGeotechnics
TitleAdditive Manufacturing of Long Fibre Composite Structures
Supervisors
Description

This PhD project aims to design a novel additive manufacturing (AM) system for producing continuous-fibre composite structures. The system will enable the computer-controlled production of polymer-based composite structures with high fibre volume fractions for biomedical and other industrial (e.g. automobile) applications. As in any other AM device, the general process methodology requires the following development steps: (1) the generation of a three-dimensional solid model (3D CAD model); (2) tessellating the model and creation of an STL model; and (3) slicing (SLI file) and physical reproduction of the 3D model with the additive manufacturing system. Since a major drawback of the existent rapid manufacturing devices is their low range of processable materials, we intend to develop a versatile fabrication system capable of processing a wide range of polymeric and composite materials. We will combine, within a single device, two different ‘coating’ technologies for the production of 3D structures based on the deposition of continuous-fibres: (a) thermal coating process of fibres (polymeric or composite) with polyesters and (b) radiation-based coating process of fibres with polymers (hydrogels) and epoxy resins. The overall process will be fully automated, except the placing of the fibre role within the production device.
 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Knowledge of AM, FEA, Matlab, processing/mechanics of composites
PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleAdvanced beam shaping for high-resolution laser patterning of surfaces, thin films and flexible circuits
Supervisors
Description

In the last few years, devices based on micro-texturing of surfaces, thin films or flexible electronics have seen a growing range of applications from industries such as automotive, printing or photovoltaic. The high process accuracy required to produce ever-smaller circuits on fragile substrates conflicted with high process speed requirements, resulting in issues such as delamination or heat affected zones. Although ultrashort-pulse laser sources have already been used for high resolution processes such as selective ablation or multi-photon ionisation, the full potential of these laser sources has not yet been explored. Thus, this project will use a Spatial Light Modulator (SLM) for advanced shaping of a femtosecond-pulse laser beam, including wavefront and polarization control.

Specific wavefront and polarization profiles will be produced (e.g. Bessel beams, vortex beams, radial or azimuthal polarization) to improve the control of laser-material interactions and maximize the spatial resolution of the process without reducing the processing speed. The objectives include identifying suitable process parameters to texture surfaces, thin films, and produce sub-micrometre circuitry on flexible substrates without delamination, and maximizing the process speed. The results will be compared with existing laser and non-laser based processes to produce flexible circuits.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Familiarity in manufacturing or optical engineering. Knowledge of lasers, optics, or material processing would be beneficial.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleAutomatic virtual design using cognitive computers
Supervisors
Description

Most consumer products are designed and tested using computer simulation before they are manufactured.  A human engineer drives this process, sitting in front of a workstation, by interacting with the engineering design software through a point and click graphical user interface. But what if we could codify the engineer's thought processes and automate their actions? Could we replace the human engineer with an intelligent machine? IBM’s computer Watson recently won the American TV game show Jeopardy, beating two human contestants. Watson is a “cognitive computer” that uses machine learning algorithms to process vast quantities of data, accessed via the internet. This project will involve evaluating the performance of Watson in carrying out some simple (or codifiable) design tasks. Of course, Watson will need some help. You’ll need to train him to think like an engineer and give him access to engineering simulation tools. The successful candidate will work closely with IBM experts at the Hartree Centre in Warrington, developing a unique set of skills for employment opportunities in advanced engineering simulation, data analytics and cognitive computing.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: Keen interest and skills in computer programming, knowledge of the finite element method and engineering design optimisation.

Desirable: High performance computing, statistics, machine learning.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleDesign & development of an Electrical Machining method to analyse welding sections for nuclear applications
Supervisors
Description

Nuclear installations must have uncompromising structural integrity. Critical components for both the primary and secondary cooling loops for nuclear reactors are constructed of thick steel weldments. Welds are often a source of residual stresses, which must be assessed at both the in the design phase, but also during the course of operation. While there are numerous semi-destructive techniques for determining these residual stresses, these are often difficult or costly to implement. A cost-effective and robust technique is to use the contour method. With this technique, a representative component is cut by wire-based electro-discharge machining (WEDM), and the resulting relaxation is assessed numerically to ascertain the principle stress component. With other costly preparation techniques, X-ray diffraction can be used to assess other components of residual stresses.

In the contour method, WEDM is almost exclusively used as it imparts relatively miniscule additional stress on the component. However, a programme to identify the best parameters for performing contour method cutting remains elusive. This project is intended to investigate the interdependence of cutting parameters on final result interpretation and to investigate other electrical machining techniques in the same context. The project will involve applying elements of industry dictated welding procedures, surface characterisation, numerical analysis (FE), X-ray and potentially neutron diffraction to reliably assess the effects of cutting on the calculated residual stress. This project presents the opportunity to make significant contributions to both the contour method itself and interpretation of results for nuclear and other high-value manufacturers.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: applicants will need to apply the engineering mathematics required for finite element analysis, focussed on solid mechanics. A strong aptitude for computer programming and mechanical design is required.

Desired: experience with ABAQUS, MATLAB or Python, basic metallographic principles and mechanical testing.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleDesign and development of a Nano-second ECM process
Supervisors
Description

Electro chemical machining (ECM) is a process that is now more widely used in the automotive, aerospace, and medical devices sectors. However, there are still areas that require significant research to meet the future demands of these sectors. As new products are developed there is a need for improved accuracy in manufacturing processes. This project will focus on establishing an ECM process with nano-second pulsing capability to allow a step change in process performance. We already have a prototype power supply with nano-second pulsing capability however extensive evaluation and exploration of the mechanisms involved when operating at this frequency are required. The work will focus on developing a prototype machine, carrying out extensive machining trials, gaining a full understanding of the physics taking place in the inter-electrode gap when operating at this frequency. Modelling of the process will also be investigated.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Familiarity with manufacturing engineering

 

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleDevelopment of industrial-scaled validation welds of thick sections
Supervisors
Description

Both the civil nuclear and off-shore oil and gas sector often employ ferrous components with extremely thick cross-sections to overcome high internal pressures and temperatures. Development efforts to develop welding protocols for these types of installation are often carried out on much smaller components and are hampered by the lack of material availability. As an example, welding trials on tubular cross-sections are often carried out on plate material. This difference in geometry presents thermomechanical conditions which are not necessarily reflective of fabrication and installation conditions. The goal of this project is to investigate if validation welds made with thick plate specimens with high levels of restraint can adequately describe the conditions imposed on a tubular component with similar cross-section. The project will encompass some elements of modelling to track the simultaneous manufacturing inputs with the evolution of temperature and mechanical quantities such as residual stress and basic evolution of microstructural evolution. This will be conducted via experimental, instrumented welding trials on mockups, and existing datasets collected from previous experimentation. The results of this study will be used to determine an optimal scale of welds as a function of different plate thicknesses and material. This project has a significant potential academic impact as well as a number of high-value manufacturing sectors including nuclear and off-shore oil & gas.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Essential: applicants will need to apply the engineering mathematics required for finite element analysis, focussed on solid mechanics and heat transfer. A strong aptitude for computer programming and mechanical design is required.

Desired: experience with ABAQUS, MATLAB or Python, basic metallographic principles and mechanical testing.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleDevelopment of stress relaxation methods for residual stress determination in tubular components
Supervisors
Description

Residual stresses develop during manufacturing of many components used in demanding environments, often with negative impacts on service life. Industry requires techniques of accurately capturing residual stresses in common tubular weldments. A destructive technique (contour method) has been successfully employed on metallic tubular components containing one material, but not for dissimilar metal welds which are common to many industrial sectors. The project will comprise both modelling and experimentation stream to determine the impact of manufacturing inputs. The tractable outcome of this project is an improvement in structural integrity assessments by decreasing redundant design conservatism and providing more accurate service life estimates.

This project presents the opportunity to make material contributions to the oil and gas, nuclear and aerospace industries by providing novel techniques to assess the impact of residual stress and potential mitigation and management strategies.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

The candidate should possess a background in solid mechanics, focusing particularly on fracture.

Essential: applicants will need to apply the engineering mathematics required for finite element analysis, focused on solid mechanics and heat transfer. A strong aptitude for computer programming and mechanical design is required.

Desired: Experience with ABAQUS, MATLAB or Python, basic metallographic principles and mechanical testing.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleDual Velocity Deformational Transport Theory
Supervisors
Description

Transport equations presently only play a small part in solid and fracture mechanics and it is without contention to claim that variational methods dominate, underpinning the most successful techniques for analysis.  Variational methods in solid mechanics are successfully underpinned by the realisation that variations in energy are often sufficient to describe complex physical phenomena.  However, it is appreciated that the flow of energy through a solid is also well articulated using transport equations but the requirement to involve displacement has undoubtedly limited their practical applicability.  Transport equations for movement and space have recently being established at the University of Manchester, which opens up the possibility that transport equations can be applied to a greater degree in solid mechanics.  This project focuses on a new concept where the velocity and displacement fields describing deformation are each formed in at least two parts depending on the number of principal constitutive contributions to deformation.  Such a formation is not without controversy as compatibility conditions constrain the deformation and thus only approximate solutions can be anticipated.  However, the advantage of the dual approach is the direct coupling of a velocity field with a dissipation mechanism, which offers many advantages in metal forming and fracture mechanics.  Dual velocity projects are available across many areas including: heat transfer and non-Newtonian fluid flow (Bingham fluids); impact (plastic collapse); fracture mechanics (J-integrals, configurational theory); damage mechanics (creep, plasticity and local collapse) etc.  Code development forms part of the proposed project.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleEnhanced-resolution materials processing using laser beams with tailored light fields
Supervisors
Description

Conventional laser materials processing using far-field optics is limited by diffraction and thus process resolution cannot exceed a critical value, which is proportional to the laser beam wavelength. As a result, the smallest feature size cannot be much below ~100nm even for ultrashort-pulse lasers. The recent emergence of experimental methods to structure laser light fields has opened up new possible strategies to enhance process resolution beyond the diffraction limit. For example, it has been demonstrated that focusing radially polarized beams with a high-NA microscope objective produces a non-propagating longitudinal field in the vicinity of the focal point, with very steep intensity gradients. Although it could allow non-diffraction limited process resolutions, this has never been tested experimentally for materials processing. Thus, controlling the laser light fields could allow producing tailored surface nano-textures and quantify the resolution improvements of radial versus other light field geometries. This project will develop processes based on laser vector field control to tailor these ultrafast laser-material interactions and produce highly customized micro- and nano-structures with enhanced resolution, either on metal, polymer or semiconductor surfaces. This will allow developing novel processes to fabricate high-value-added devices for various applications, for example high-performance battery electrodes, detectors or photovoltaic devices.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Knowledge of lasers, or material processing would be beneficial.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleFinite similitude: scaled experimentation
Supervisors
Description

Dimensional analysis is a mainstream method for investigating the behaviour of physical systems.  The approach is underpinned by dimensional homogeneity that must apply to any physical relationship.  It would be meaningless to add for instance a quantity with a dimensional measure of time with that of length (say).  This restriction imposes a constraint on any physical relationship and leads to the well-known Buckingham Pi theorem.  A recent discovery at the University of Manchester is the law of finite similitude which takes a different approach and does not involve dimensional considerations.  The approach considers the fundamental laws of nature in transport form and absent of any constitutive equations.  The fundamental laws have global validity and the absence of constitutive relationships removes a principal source of equation breakdown common to scaled partial differential equations.  Observers in scaled and un-scaled spaces without access to absolute measures view the physics in each space through the lens of the transport equations.  If the observers are unable to distinguish between the physics of two similar processes, then finite similitude is said to occur.  The approach has the advantage that there always exists a solution that satisfies finite similitude, which provides information for the design of scaled prototypes and processes.  Scaling projects are available across many areas including: heat transfer and fluid flow (heat exchangers, casting); impact (impulse and blast protection); vibration and acoustics; fracture mechanics; damage mechanics, metal forming, etc.  Designing scaled experiments and performing scaled analysis is of principal interest.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleFinite similitude in fracture mechanics
Supervisors
Description

A recent discovery at the University of Manchester is the law of finite similitude which takes a different approach and does not involve dimensional considerations.  The approach has the advantage that there always exists a solution that satisfies finite similitude, which provides information for the design of scaled prototypes and processes.  Designing scaled experiments and performing scaled analysis is of principal interest.  The particular focus of this project is on fracture mechanics, which presents particular challenges for scaling and similitude.  Discontinuous crack propagation problems in particular are notoriously difficult to model, representing changing geometry and non-linear physics.  Traditional approaches for the analysis of fracture are founded on variational principles and often utilise the finite element method involving fine meshes or cohesive elements and/or enriched elements.  Moreover, it is sometimes beneficial to perform said analysis in a material reference space because this does not deform and tears appear there as simple discontinuities.  This advantage has been recognised by many researchers with some claiming that physics can be established on a material space; see references in the literature on the concept of configurational force (i.e. forces that drive cracks (changes in configuration) in the material space).  The application of the law of similitude provides insight into the modelling, experimentation and the validity of certain theoretical concepts underpinning fracture mechanics.  Recent advances have been made at Manchester with the application of transport equations to fracture and the development of new J-Integrals based on these equations.  The intrinsic linking of transport equations with similitude makes for a timely investigation into these aspects. 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleGraphene-modified adhesives for joining polymer composite structures
Supervisors
Description

Advanced polymer composites provide opportunities for developing new materials and tailoring their properties. Graphene-modified epoxies allow us to tailor properties (e.g. strength, toughness and thermal/electrical conductivity) and explore as structural adhesives in the assembly of composite structures. The joint strength and durability could significantly be improved using nano-modified structural adhesives, when combined with advanced surface treatments (e.g. plasmas or ultrashort pulse lasers). This project focuses on graphene-modified epoxies and carbon-fibre reinforced laminates, and investigates the failure of composite bonded joints. It consists of: (a) manufacturing and characterisation of epoxy-based adhesives with graphene as a nano-filler; (b) manufacturing and characterisation of composite bonded joints with graphene-modified adhesives; (c) developing a multi-scale computational model to investigate the role of graphene-modified adhesives on the failure of composite bonded joints. In part (a), bulk adhesive specimens will be produced and investigated for strength and toughness, with emphasis on micro-mechanics, stress states and stain rates. In part (b), joint-level fracture specimens will be produced and tested for interface response and micro- and macro-failure mechanisms. In part (c), the experimental data and observations will be employed and a joint-level multi-scale computational model will be developed incorporating damage mechanics.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Polymer materials, mechanics of materials, finite element analysis, and experimental mechanics.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleLife Cycle Assessment for non-traditional manufacturing processes
Supervisors
Description

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an area of engineering that is becoming more important and this is especially true in the area of industrial machine tools. There are guidelines available for machine tools through ISO14955 however the procedures for non-traditional processes such as Electro discharge machining, Electro chemical machining and Laser processing have not been clearly defined. This project will focus on carrying out LCA analysis of these processes/machines as well as the development of methodologies that are appropriate for use with non-traditional manufacturing processes/machines. Other aspects will be explored as well, taking a whole systems approach and taking into consideration the Techno-economic aspects as well as the a focus on materials and waste reduction. The social aspects of LCA will also be explored in contrast to the environmental aspects of LCA. This project has the potential to have an impact on future legislation in this area.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Familiarity in mechanical engineering, or manufacturing engineering

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleLinking manufacturing process inputs to in-service performance of additively-manufactured components
Supervisors
Description

Standard wire and arc additive manufacturing techniques based on standard welding techniques are poised to have the most immediate impact for industry. This is due to both high levels of technological readiness and widely available raw materials. However, there are a number of issues that still need to be addressed prior to major uptake by industry. Primarily, the combined effects of inherent defects and high levels of residual stress severely undermine the applicability of AM components to displace components manufactured via existing near-net shape and material removal methods. Novel techniques for addressing some of these factors have been devised, including wire-based AM whereby a component is built by using a low temperature advanced tandem gas-metal arc system (Cold Metal Transfer, or CMT). Reduced heat input has shown to decrease dilution of alloying additions along with reduced residual stress. The project will be comprised of first developing manufacturing protocols to make relatively simple components with a diminished defect population. This will include the choice of material in conjunction with fabrication protocols. Characterisation of residual stress and defect population as a function of these protocols will be assessed, and implications on in-service performance will be investigated. This will be accomplished via developing a simplified process model based on continuum FEA which is populated and informed via standard metallographic observations and thermomechanical testing. This project has the opportunity for significant impact owed to the novel manufacturing techniques to be investigated and resulting industrial implications.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Essential: applicants will need to apply the engineering mathematics required for finite element analysis, focussed on solid mechanics and heat transfer. A strong aptitude for computer programming and mechanical design is required.

Desired: Experience with ABAQUS, MATLAB or Python, basic metallographic principles and mechanical testing.  

  

 

 

 

 

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleMechanical Behaviour of Bonded Scarf Repairs in Aircraft Composite Structures
Supervisors
Description

For significant weight reduction, the application of composite materials in aircraft design is globally considered as one of the key technologies to meet emission targets. Advanced composite materials, which are usually continuous fibres (mostly carbon and glass) within a polymer matrix (mostly thermosetting) for aerospace applications, provide superior material properties than metals and enable lighter structural designs to be achieved. In recent years, advanced composites have replaced traditional structural materials in aircraft structures to a significant extent (e.g. Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and Bombardier C-Series, with more than 50% composites by weight). Although composites are currently being used in primary and secondary structural components, several important aviation safety related issues have been identified and categorised. One of these issues is structural maintenance and repair of composite aircraft components.

This PhD project aims at providing a fundamental engineering understanding of as well as a robust technology for repairing primary composite structures. The project will look at this issue by combining the elements of composite machining and experimental/computational mechanics, with emphasis on bonded scarf repairs. The failure behaviour of bonded scarf joints will be investigated in order to understand the influence of composite machining, interface properties and defects. 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Advanced solid mechanics, finite element analysis (ABAQUS), mechanics of composite materials, fracture mechanics, and experimental mechanics

 

 

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleMicromechanics of Composite Bonded Joints
Supervisors
Description

Polymer composites have been replacing conventional structural materials (metals) in several engineering structural applications (e.g. Boeing 787, Airbus A350 with about 50% advanced composites) because of high strength-to-weight ratio, tailored manufacturability, fuel efficiency (thus reduced emissions). However, while matured design rules for metallic structures exist, robust design rules need to be developed for polymer composite materials in order to fully exploit their mechanical properties and achieve optimised structural designs. In this regard, a thorough understanding of the mechanical performance of polymer composite laminates and their structural joints under service conditions is absolutely essential for ensuring structural integrity and safety.

This PhD project aims to develop micro-mechanics based computational models to investigate the failure mechanisms involved in adhesively bonded composite laminate structural joints. In the first part of the project, a micro-mechanical approach will be used to develop models to study: (a) laminate-adhesive interface failure mechanisms and (b) the role of adhesive properties and processing defects on the joint failure mechanisms. In the second part, macro- and micro-scale experiments will be conducted on adhesively bonded composite structural joints and fractography will be performed to identify micro-failure mechanisms and develop computational models.

 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Advanced solid mechanics, finite element analysis (ABAQUS), mechanics of composite materials, fracture mechanics, micro-mechanics and experimental testing

 

 

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleTailored composite bonded repairs for aircraft structures: A multi-scale modelling approach
Supervisors
Description

For significant weight reduction, the application of composite materials in aircraft design is globally considered as one of the key technologies to meet emission targets. Advanced composite materials, which are usually continuous fibres (mostly carbon and glass) within a polymer matrix (mostly thermosetting) for aerospace applications, provide superior material properties than metals and enable lighter structural designs to be achieved. In recent years, advanced composites have replaced traditional structural materials in aircraft structures to a significant extent (e.g. Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and Bombardier C-Series, with more than 50% composites by weight). Although composites are currently being used in primary and secondary structural components, several important aviation safety related issues have been identified and categorised. One of these issues is structural maintenance and repair of composite aircraft components.

This PhD project aims at providing a robust repair approach for restoring damaged primary composite aircraft structures. The project will look at the key issue of undamaged material removal and associated damage tolerance. The study will focus on a multi-scale modelling strategy to analyse non-conventional patch geometries for tailoring scarf repairs by using computational and experimental mechanics. The failure behaviour of tailored stepped scarf joints/patches will be investigated in order to gain a fundamental understanding that can lead to a robust repair design methodology for composite structures.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Advanced solid mechanics, finite element analysis (ABAQUS), mechanics of composite materials, fracture mechanics, and experimental mechanics.

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleTessellated continuum mechanics
Supervisors
Description

The use of cellular/porous/perforated materials offers many advantages in engineering applications but a major concern is the lack of a robust methodology relating structural/property relationships at the macroscale to responses at the microscale.  Empirical models do exist but these can only be applied in a limited range and say little about the local phenomenon taking place at the micro-scale. This is particularly true when a wide range of scales are involved in describing the geometry of the underpinning microstructure.  However, a new form of continuum mechanics is being developed at the University of Manchester, which permits the analysis of porous material when subject to a range of loading scenarios including: thermal, dynamic (impact and vibrational), flow and; invoking failure mechanisms such as: fracture, fatigue, creep and collapse.  The new tessellated approach uses fractals to represent intricate geometries but all analysis is performed on a tessellated continuum.  This is achieved by the application and development of a general transport approach for pre-fractals, which has recently being discovered.  It transpires that both tessellations the fractals construction processes are remarkably efficient involving recursive algorithms involving the repeated application of a number of contraction/expansion maps; this is a feature that has yet to be fully exploited numerically.  Tessellated continuum mechanics projects are available across many areas including: heat transfer and fluid flow (cellular heat exchangers); impact (body armour and shock absorbers); vibration and acoustics (perforated plates); fracture mechanics (crack propagation and fatigue); damage mechanics (creep and local collapse) etc. 

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleThe non-physical finite element method
Supervisors
Description

The concept of the non-physical method for the modelling of multiple material discontinuities in solidification was discovered at the University of Manchester for dealing with a strong discontinuity in enthalpy and a weak discontinuity in temperature.  The founding idea underpinning the NPFEM is the ability to define non-physical variables via moving control-volume transport equations along with their representation using traditional approximations common to the finite element method (FEM).  A feature of the non-physical approach is that it provides an exact description of the underpinning physics describable by transport equations.  Any discontinuous behaviour in a physical field variable is represented exactly by a continuous non-physical field on which a non-physical source is superimposed at a discontinuity. The definition of non-physical variables via transport equations is ideal for the precise isolation of material discontinuities and hence their description.  The ability to focus and collapse a control volume at any point of a discontinuity means that complex geometrical branched discontinuities can in principle be represented.  It has recently been realised that the approach is related to a new concept in scaling, which opens up the potential for coupling highly sophisticated modelling approaches for shock and crack modelling and designing scaled experiments.  Non-physical projects are available across many areas including: heat transfer and fluid flow (thermal and fluid shock waves); impact (body armour, shock absorbers, cellular collapse); acoustics (shock and blast waves); fracture mechanics (crack propagation); damage mechanics (local collapse) etc.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaInnovative Manufacturing
TitleAdvanced digital image processing for Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Supervisors
Description

Technology in building design, simulation and intelligence in buildings are well-represented and making headlines with Building Information Modelling (BIM). However, BIM for existing buildings are much unexplored and under researched. In addition, there is little known about how existing buildings could improve sustainable living for the community; and little is done to utilise BIM to explore the possibilities to improve building sustainability. Digitised building-survey information by 3D laser scanning and the efficient image processing is core to generate BIM models.
This project aims to establish an innovative image processing tool to integrate digital information obtained from a variety of digital imaging techniques, for example, 3D laser scanning, high-resolution colour imaging and spectral imaging. Advanced image processing involves management of point cloud data and spectral imaging data, their visualisation and image registration.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

  • Knowledge of Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Computational skills in image processing and experiences in higher-level languages, such as C, Matlab, are required.
  • Knowledge in physics and mathematical background.
  • Experience of image acquisition will be useful.
PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitleAgeing, project management careers and workplace design
Supervisors
Description

Ageing is one of the most significant challenges of social and demographic change confronting societies globally.  Yet, the problem of ageing is rarely examined in relation to (changing) project management careers.  As engineering workplaces become more flexible and lean, and as project management careers increasingly become more boundaryless, there is a need to examine how the dynamics of ageing can exert further pressures in terms of e.g. career choices and planning, work-life balance, and the development and retention of organisational knowledge and wisdom.  This PhD study seeks to examine implications for workplace design as a consequence of ageing and changing notions of project management careers.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Prospective candidates should demonstrate an awareness and interest in undertaking mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative), and a willingness to disseminate the research outcomes through public engagement initiatives and publishing in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.


 

 

 

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitleAssessing Circular Economy potential for decommissioning oil and gas in the North Sea
Supervisors
Description

Oil and gas are key industries for the UK and were worth £39bn to the UK economy in 2013. However, within the North Sea it could cost up to £46bn for decommissioning by 2040. With the removal of a range of infrastructure comes an opportunity with regards to the ultimate fate of the material. If the decommissioned infrastructure could be reused, reprocessed or remanufactured, either within the oil and gas sector or within other market sectors, it could enhance the financial benefits to the industry, as well as minimise subsequent energy use, waste and emissions. The research project involves identification, quantification and assessment of circular economy opportunities arising from the decommissioning of North Sea Oil and Gas infrastructure. This will be achieved via fulfilling 3 research themes: 1) classifying the CE pathway at a single-platform level; 2) analysis of the spatial-temporal supply and demand drivers; 3) combining outputs of 1) & 2) into a single holistic analysis to understand the scale of the opportunity and the sensitivities at the system level, to different drivers.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitleAssessing the use of critical incident technique (CIT) in the ‘lessons learned’ stage of projects
Supervisors
Description

This project is an evaluation of the usefulness of the critical incident technique in eliciting accounts of positive and negative experience in the lifecycle of a project and processing these into useful information. What current methods are commonly used in the ‘lessons learned’ stage of project management? What are the problems organisations face in extracting, retaining and reusing the experience of their project workers? Is there a value to be added by use of CIT compared to other methods? The following papers would be a good start to research: Kaulio, M. (2008) Project Leadership in Multi-Project Settings: Findings from a Critical Incident Study. International Journal of Project Management, 26, 338-347, also the classic Flanagan, J. (1954) The Critical Incident Technique. Psychological Bulletin, 51 (4), 327-359.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitleDevelopment of an effective teaching simulation in Commercial Management of Projects
Supervisors
Description

This project is to research and develop a business simulation to support teaching in the Commercial Management of projects at the school of MACE. Realistic simulations enrich the student experience by helping them experience the conflict of applying theory in a real-world setting, helping develop employability skills in a way that purely theoretical learning cannot, engaging students with a wider range of learning styles than traditional lecturing and can create a highly personal learning experience despite the individual perhaps being part of a very large class. The context of the project is improving teaching methods for working with very large class sizes of mostly international (mostly Chinese) students, which is a challenge for many UK universities, therefore the knowledge developed would find practical application at other institutions looking to make such innovations in the teaching of their own subject areas.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Understanding of commercial or procurement work in projects, buy or sell-side.

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitlePoint cloud data and advanced image processing
Supervisors
Description

3D (laser) scanning technology is not new but its application is much undervalued. Scanning produces millions of digital point cloud data (PCD) but this is little value as it only represents data in space. Of the millions of PCDs equates to gigabytes of data generated, only 10% of this will be deemed useful – the geometry. This geometry could be integrated with a myriad of digital image types and generate intelligent objects, which will provide n-dimensional data.
This research aims to establish smart digital models using innovative digital imaging with point cloud data – discover how to integrate 2D imaging with 3D point clouds; and produce interactive models, such as BIM for the built environment industry. These models must then transferable into mobile devices to make it more accessible with tiered security access.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

• Experience in 3D scanning and point cloud data
• Experience of image acquisition
• Computational skills in image processing and experiences in higher-level languages, such as C, Matlab, are required.
• Knowledge in physics and mathematical background
• Knowledge of Building Information Modelling (BIM)

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitlePrediction markets in project management
Supervisors
Description

Prediction markets are a way of converging diverse opinion on an issue into a clear priority with an ordering of preferences and a trial of visible changes in priority, using the idea of ‘futures markets’. Mostly these are based upon social networking (web 2.0) technologies. There is a history of such expert opinion techniques dating back to the Delphi method of the 1950s. Prediction markets offer potential new solutions to some established problems at the ‘messy front end’ of projects, for example in extracting, balancing and prioritising differing stakeholder requirements. How exactly could such systems be implemented and what would be the expected challenges and outcomes of their use? What potential is there for them in construction, engineering, humanitarian or IT projects?

Skills


Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Basic understanding of underlying maths and operations, understanding of the specific industry context that they might choose to host the experiment

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitlePutting digital trends into practice: examining the rhetoric and realities. Big Data and the Internet of Things
Supervisors
Description

The rise of the networked society (cf. Manuel Castells) has grown over the last two decades to mean that, now more than ever, everyone and everything is connected to everyone and everything else.  Contemporarily, this is framed in the trendy buzzwords of ‘Big Data’ and the ‘Internet of Things’, which are poised to drive better information and decisions about how we live our lives with promises of ultimately improving our (societal) wellbeing.  At the same time, there remain concerns over the security and privacy of such connectedness and infrastructural challenges of putting these digital trends into practice.  This ambitious PhD project seeks to examine the rhetoric and realities of such digital trends, with a view to draw implications of scaling up such ideas as ‘Big Data’ and the ‘Internet of Things’.  Possible questions include (1) what are some of the promising practices of ‘Big Data’ and the ‘Internet of Things’, now and in the short-to-medium term?  (2) what are the implications when the digital meets the non-digital?  (3) what are some of the possibilities in areas that are relatively under-explored (e.g. in extending the quality of life in older people)?

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Prospective candidates should demonstrate an awareness and interest in undertaking mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative), and a willingness to disseminate the research outcomes through public engagement initiatives and publishing in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitleThe etiology of innovation in project-led organisations - planned or serendipitous?
Supervisors
Description

Innovation is posited in popular business culture as a necessity, the only rational response to modern competition and a rational process amenable to rational management to the benefit of the organization. There is, however, an inevitable difference between the popular conception of management ideas and even these in the explicit statements and strategies of organisations and the then the actual experience of those working in the organisations, those who are tasked with or expected to be, innovative in their work.

Taking a project-led organization as a basis, what dissonance exists between corporate directions for innovation and the experience of innovation of managers and workers in that organisation? What are the antecedents to innovative behaviour and from where in their worklife do these arise - do the antecedents arise from participation in explicit innovation processes, or from someplace else? To what end are workers helped or hindered by the statements and expectations of their organisations pertaining to innovation?

The project would help a participant organisation to gain insight into the effectiveness and real use of existing innovation efforts, whilst also developing more realistic theories of innovation that reflect the actual motivating concerns and actions of human beings in a projectised context

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitleThe Gamification of Education in Commercial Management of Projects: How can it be implemented? Should it?
Supervisors
Description

This project is to research and develop a business simulation to support teaching in the Commercial Management of projects at the school of MACE. Realistic simulations enrich the student experience by helping them experience the conflict of applying theory in a real-world setting, helping develop employability skills in a way that purely theoretical learning cannot, engaging students with a wider range of learning styles than traditional lecturing and can create a highly personal learning experience despite the individual perhaps being part of a very large class. When incorporating IT, such methods can also be more resource efficient, releasing lecturers and rooms.

The project would go up to the development of a pilot model and involve: Literature review at the leading edge of the area of gamification, particularly the techniques and pedagogy of serious gaming Access to international research networks in this area and interviews with authorities Negotiating access to a site of commercial management and the direct observation of the work of practicing commercial managers Analysis of results of a pilot and dissemination of findings through conferences and publication Given relationships with practitioners and trade associations in the area, with careful marketing a finished product could become an income stream and so sustain its own future development.

The research and final product will have significant value beyond MACE and could lead to collaboration with Computer Science as IT components will likely be required. The context of the project is improving teaching methods for working with very large class sizes of mostly international (mostly Chinese) students, which is a challenge for many UK universities, therefore the knowledge developed would find practical application at other institutions looking to make such innovations in the teaching of their own subject areas.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

PhD Specialist AreaManagement of Projects
TitleDiscrete particle modelling of sediment entrainment
Supervisors
Description

The interaction between turbulent shear flows and granular materials, such as soils and fluvial sediment deposits, is a complex fluid-dynamical problem that is still poorly understood. Modelling fluid-sediment interactions has important applications in engineering and environmental sciences. Examples include the prediction of sediment erosion and deposition in natural watercourses and sewer systems, the fate of sorbing contaminants in fluvial environments, and the dynamics of sediment resuspension in industrial tanks. This project aims to: 1) develop a particle-based numerical code for modelling the behaviour of granular materials under the action of a shear flow; 2) develop a suitable model representation for fluid-sediment interactions in turbulent boundary layers; 3) use the knowledge gained from numerical simulations to develop a probabilistic model of sediment entrainment.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Candidates should have a degree in engineering, science or mathematics, with a knowledge of fluid mechanics and CFD and experience of numerical modelling. Good mathematical and numerical programming skills are essential.

PhD Specialist AreaWater Engineering
TitleFlood flows, buildings, vegetation and debris
Supervisors
Description

Current knowledge and guidelines for flood resistance is limited, particularly with regard to the effect of debris in the flows, and yet these clearly cause a significant amount of the damage to buildings and structures as well as affecting flows by causing blockages. Using a combination of laboratory experiments and numerical modelling, the flow of flood waters around buildings, vegetation and other obstacles will be examined.  In addition, the way debris is carried around such environments, and the impacts the debris has on buildings and structures will be quantified.  The laboratory experiments will use flumes of various sizes with idealised representations of obstacles and debris.  Flows and debris movements will be measured using videos and ADVs, while loading and impacts will be measured using strain gauges and novel instrumented debris.  The numerical modelling will be based on smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) which uses a Lagrangian representation of the flow and is particularly suited to problems with moving free-surfaces and moving objects within the flow.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Ability to apply mathematical techniques in solving physical or engineering problems.
Practical skills in conducting laboratory experiments
Skills in computer programming and/or use of numerical models

PhD Specialist AreaWater Engineering
TitleModelling transport in heterogeneous natural channels
Supervisors
Description

Quantifying the capability of streams and rivers to transport and process chemicals and land derived materials is a key issue for developing sustainable policies of land use and water resource management. The development of cost-effective measures for pollution control requires integrated modelling tools for predicting the fate and transport of contaminants over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. This project aims to investigate how channel topography affects the fate of contaminants in natural channels, and to develop new models for predicting surface and subsurface transport fluxes. Computational fluid dynamics simulations will be used to analyse flow and mass transport in heterogeneous channels and the surrounding sediment bed, and a parametric study will be conducted to understand the link between topography and macro-scale parameters of surface and subsurface transport. The simulation results will underpin the development of new reduced-dimensional formulations of pollutant transport applicable to the reach scale as well as the watershed scale.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Candidates should have a degree in engineering, science or mathematics, with a knowledge of fluid mechanics and CFD and experience of numerical modelling. Good mathematical and numerical programming skills are essential.

PhD Specialist AreaWater Engineering
TitleOptimal design of urban drainage systems
Supervisors
Description

Urban drainage systems play a fundamental role in storm water management. When appropriately designed, they can significantly reduce the risk of flooding during intense storm events and thereby prevent damage to economic and environmental assets as well as problems for public health. Developing cost-effective and reliable solutions for urban drainage is a complex task involving several decision variables, problem constraints and multiple design objectives. Although the optimization of storm sewer systems has been subject of extensive study during the last decades, the inherent complexity of the problem has led to limited success in real-world applications of the proposed techniques. As a result, common design methods are still based on a trial and error approach, usually leading to sub-optimal solutions. This project therefore aims to develop new methods and tools for optimal design of storm sewer networks by combining improved simulation models with state-of-the-art optimization techniques.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/  

Candidates should have a degree in engineering, science or mathematics, with some knowledge of optimization methods and experience of numerical modelling.

PhD Specialist AreaWater Engineering
TitleOptimal design of urban drainage infrastructure for flood risk mitigation
Supervisors
Description


Urban pluvial flooding is on the rise globally due to increasing urbanisation, population growth and climate change. This type of flooding occurs when the drainage system is insufficient to drain away the volume of rainwater falling, and can cause severe economic damage and social impacts. Designing efficient urban drainage systems is a complex problem involving several decision variables as well as economic, environmental and social constraints. This project aims to develop a decision support system for design and planning of urban drainage infrastructure, including drainage pipe networks and sustainable drainage systems. To this end, an optimisation method for automatic selection of optimal design solutions will be coupled with an urban flood simulator capable to represent the (transient) response of an urban drainage system to a rainfall event of a given return period. The decision support system should allow the assessment of trade-offs between multiple objectives and the evaluation of the uncertainty in the performance of the final design solutions.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Candidates should have some knowledge of optimization methods and experience of numerical modelling.

PhD Specialist AreaWater Engineering
TitleSimulation-based optimisation of urban drainage networks
Supervisors
Description

Drainage networks are a fundamental part of the urban infrastructure for collection and drainage of flood water. In many areas in the world, rapid urbanisation has led to an increase in impervious cover and wastewater, making the existing drainage infrastructure insufficient and hence increasing the risk of flooding. Inadequacies in drainage systems also result from the deterioration of sewers over the years, in a way that can be difficult to predict. Climate change is also expected to have an impact on the drainage infrastructure in those regions where the frequency of extreme rainfall is likely to increase.
The aim of this project is to develop a comprehensive framework for reducing construction and management costs associated with the development and upgrade of existing urban drainage infrastructure, and for the optimisation of drainage system performance. This will involve: (1) the development of a computationally efficient simulator for urban drainage networks and (2) the coupling of the simulator with a robust optimisation approach for selection and scheduling of investment options for drainage infrastructure. The simulator should be able to provide a reliable representation of the hydraulic behaviour of large urban drainage networks at a cheap computational cost. An essential part of this simulation and optimisation framework will be the representation of uncertainty and the characterisation of the network performance in terms of risk. The modelling framework will first be developed for quasi-steady flow conditions and will be extended in a subsequent phase to represent unsteady flow effects.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Candidates should have a degree in engineering, science or mathematics, with some knowledge of optimization methods and experience of numerical modelling.

PhD Specialist AreaWater Engineering
TitleWaves, shingle and coastal defences
Supervisors
Description

Concrete coastal defences are abraded by shingle moved by wave action, but there is a lack of detailed knowledge or guidance about the precise motion of the shingle or the abrasion of the concrete structures.  Large parts of the UK coastline are protected by concrete defences, and shingle is present along a large portion of this coastline.  Climate change is expected to result in more frequent storm events and stronger waves, so it is essential to have a better understanding of the way shingle abrades coastal defences in order to produce efficient and effective designs.  The project will use laboratory experiments, supported by field observations and numerical modelling, to examine how waves move shingle, and the consequent effects on model defences.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Ability to apply mathematical techniques in solving physical or engineering problems.
Practical skills in conducting laboratory experiments and fieldwork
Knowledge of wave motion and concrete structures

PhD Specialist AreaWater Engineering
TitleApplication of sustainable construction materials in stressed skin design for developing countries
Supervisors
Description

Stressed skin design makes use of the in-plane rigidity and resistance of deep panels to resist in-plane bending and shear forces. The panels are made of either one or two facings and one core. The facings are stiff and strong and the core material is flexible and soft. Fixings around the panel edges are critical to transfer the in-plane panel forces. All building structures have roof and wall panels and stressed skin design in roof and wall panels was extensively used many years ago in steel framed building structures to reduce the amount of steel use when the cost of steel was high. Recent interests in using locally available, low environmental impact and natural materials, particularly in developing countries are opportunities to exploit this design method. This project will develop a system to enable this to happen. The detailed work will include identification of suitable material candidates for different applications, acquisition of the fundamental core material and connection properties, analyse and numerically model representative building structures to explore the feasibility of using stressed skin design in building structures suitable for developing countries.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Laboratory testing and non-linear numerical modelling of structural mechanics

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleAssessing the fire resistance of fire doors by modelling
Supervisors
Description

Fire doors are critical components of fire resistant compartmentation. Integrity failure (spread of flame to the unexposed side) is the main failure mode, among the three fire resistance requirements (loadbearing, insulation, integrity). Currently, the assessment of fire resistance of fire doors can only be done by performing standard fire resistance tests and the same door would need to be tested in a number of configurations. This is a very expensive process to the fire door manufacturer. Scientifically, there are also shortcomings with this approach because the standard fire resistance test results, in limited configurations, are then extrapolated to other conditions, e.g. different types of walls, different fire exposure conditions.

This project attempts to conduct numerical modelling of fire door performance, through combined modelling of thermal-mechanical performance of fire doors. This project will be carried out in association with Exova Warringtonfire which has a wealth of standard fire resistance test results on fire doors which will be used for validation of numerical modelling.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Numerical modelling of heat transfer and non-linear finite element modelling of structural mechanics

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleBehaviour of connections in thin-walled steel structures at elevated temperatures
Supervisors
Description

Thin-walled steel structures are increasingly been used as primary load carrying members in main-stream building construction, e.g. in large-span portal frames or high-rise residential buildings. Connections are the most critical elements of structures. Over the past many decades, there have been extensive research studies on connections in steel structures using thick steel sections. However, there is a lack of research on connections in thin-walled steel structures. In particular, the fire behaviour of such connections has received very limited attention. This research will perform a systematic research on connections in thin-walled steel structures, focusing mainly on their fire resistance. It is expected that the component based method for characterising connection behaviour will be adopted as the basis for developing analytical methods. Hence, this research will conduct research to quantify component behaviour as well as connection behaviour. The research will be undertaken mainly by numerical modelling, and there will be a limited amount of experiments of components and connections at elevated temperatures to provide data for validation.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Laboratory testing and non-linear finite element of structural mechanics

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleBehaviour of non-structural elements under moderate earthquake and influences on means of escape in fire
Supervisors
Description

Many earthquakes are followed by fires. When this happens, the means of fire escape will be impeded by various obstacles due to damages to the structural and non-structural components. For example, doors can get jammed due to distortion of the door frames. Ceilings may fall down on the corridor. Electrical cables may fall down. Whilst severe earthquakes that cause substantial damages to structural components occur rarely, moderate to low level earthquakes can easily damage non-structural components. In seismic active zones, moderate to low level earthquakes can happen well within the life time of buildings. It is important that when this happens, the means of fire escape are not compromised. This project will investigate how non-structural elements in buildings are affected by moderate earthquakes and how these damages may affect means of escape of occupants. Quantification of damages to non-structural members will be undertaken through numerical modelling. Assessment of the effects of damaged non-structural members on means of escape will be conducted through modelling supported by a limited amount of testing to observe evacuation time.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Advanced finite element modelling of structural failure, using explicit solver.

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleDamage mechanics of nano/micro-particle toughened epoxies in bonded composite structures
Supervisors
Description

Advanced adhesives are widely used to assemble structural components made of similar/dissimilar materials. The strength and toughness of adhesive joints dictate to a large extent the integrity of such components during service. Albeit there are a number of experimental procedures to determine the failure behaviour of adhesives, these either capture the response to a single deformation mode, e.g. pure tension/shear, or to a simple combination of such deformation modes. As a result, the obtained parameters for failure initiation are specific to the stress state in particular tests. However, as adhesive joints are subject to complex triaxial stress states, there is no accepted failure criterion that accounts for this complexity using the conventional characterisation techniques. This project aims to develop an improved failure initiation and propagation criteria for adhesively bonded composite joints with nano-/micro-particle toughened epoxies. The research consists of: (a) designing an experimental setup for testing adhesives under complex stress states and strain rates; and (b) developing models at micro- and macro-scales. This research will advance the understanding of triaxiality effects on the integrity of adhesively bonded composite joints, contribute to the body of experimental techniques, and provide improved constitutive laws for modelling, which are much needed by aerospace and automotive industries.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Experience with experimental mechanics; Strong knowledge of solid mechanics/mechanics of materials; Experience with modelling and simulation tools and good programming skills. 

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleDesign and Monitoring of composite bridges with magnetic electro-mechanical sensor (system) under dynamic loading
Supervisors
Description

As one of important applications in urban planning, highway and civil engineering, composite bridge has been paid considerable attention all over the world. Since the qualified strength, durability setting, sufficient stiffness, good stability behaviour and cost effective maintenance are essential requirement in bridge design, one of the main objectives of this project is to optimise design for main plate/beam girders of bridges including material selection, lay-out, loading transferring path and structural configuration.
Furthermore, as an application of the magnetic electro-mechanical sensor (system) which can transfer structural stress/loading into magnet electric signals, integrating such a system into main girder structures of the composite bridges in order to carry out cost-effective maintenance and in-time service is an innovative monitoring design consideration.
It is expected that a detailed COMSOL FEM numerical analysis, together with model experimental test will be carried out to monitor and check general structural performance in stiffness, strength and the stress-deflection responses under quasi static and dynamic loadings.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

An essential knowledge of Multiphysics or Structural engineering.  

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleFracture toughness in the ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT) regime
Supervisors
Description

Damage in metals initiates by the interaction of matrix plasticity with second-phase particles. Two interaction scenarios have been observed experimentally: (S1) particle de-cohesion from the matrix, i.e. void formation; and (S2) particle rupture due to plastic overload, i.e. micro-crack formation. Important class of metals exhibit a transition from low to high fracture toughness in a short temperature interval called DBTT. Experimental evidence shows: S2 alone is realised at the lower-shelf of DBTT, leading to cleavage fracture; S2 alone is realised at the upper-shelf of DBTT, leading to ductile crack growth; S1 followed by S2 are realised within DBTT interval, leading to some amount of ductile crack growth prior to cleavage. There is no sufficiently adequate model explaining the competition between S1 and S2 in DBBT, i.e. how plastic strains control scenario selection. Existing local approaches (LA) operate on the assumption that either S1 (for ductile fracture) or S2 (for cleavage fracture) is realised, hence neither approach can be used confidently in DBTT regime. A direct combination of ductile and cleavage models for DBTT while attractive does not acknowledge the competition between S1 and S2 throughout the temperature and crack tip constraint ranges of engineering interest. The aim of this project is to develop and validate a practical method for calculating apparent (geometry and temperature dependent) fracture toughness in the DBTT regime. Such a method is highly needed for making high-fidelity structural integrity assessments where experimental fracture toughness data cannot be obtained. The objectives are: to quantify the plastic zone conditions where S1 and S2 are realised by continuum finite element (FE) modelling of test specimens with available fracture toughness and fractographic data; to clarify the competition between S1 and S2 and formulate a scenario selection criterion using a micro-mechanical model of a brittle particle in a ductile matrix; and to develop a technology for calculating fracture toughness across temperature and constraint ranges, which identifies the regions realising S1 and S2 and takes their contributions to toughness accordingly.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/ 

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleMasonry structural performance in fire: assessment and development of extension rules of application
Supervisors
Description

Determining fire resistance of masonry walls is based on standard fire resistance tests. However, fire resistance test of masonry wall is time consuming and very expensive. Therefore, the existing Eurocode (EN 15080-12) allows the results of a fire resistance test to be extended to cover a much wider range of end-use conditions, following the so called application rules in EN 15080-12. However, there are many limitations to these application rules. For example, the wall thickness, the masonry unit and mortar strengths in end-use should not be lower than those of the test specimen, even though a reduction in the fire resistance rating could be considered as compensation for lower values of wall thickness, masonry unit and mortar strengths. Also, these rules are only applicable for the standard fire condition. This project aims to assess and extend the scope of the application rules under the standard fire condition and also to examine the feasibility of using standard fire test results to realistic fire conditions as represented by parametric fire curves.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link:

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

Non-linear finite element modelling of heat transfer and structural mechanics

PhD Specialist AreaStructures
TitleQuasi 3D analysis of bio-sandwich (thermal ) shell structures
Supervisors
Description

Bio-sandwich structures are flexible laminates with complicated geometric configuration and non-structural behaviour which exist widely in real world. This kind of structure exhibits a complex anisotropy, tensile-torsion interaction, bending-extension coupling, significant shear deformations and many other bio-functions such as active/passive shrinking and expanding physically. For these reasons, developing theoretical and numerical tools for the analysis of bio-sandwich structures is a challenging research topic.
This project will explore a potential application of state space approach and finite element method to bio-sandwich shell structures with prescribed self-contained boundary conditions. Thermal behaviour of materials will be considered in a simulation model. The structural deformations and some viscoelastic responses with thermal effect are expected to be investigated theoretically and numerically. How to satisfy boundary conditions exactly is a main obstacle to be overcome in this investigation.

Skills

Entry requirements can be found by selecting the relevant PhD programme at this link: http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/degree/

An essential knowledge of Composites is also required.

PhD Specialist AreaStructures


Research degrees funding

There are a range of both internal and external funding opportunities available to students planning to start a research degree course with the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering.

Postgraduate Prospectus
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