PhD Studentship: Assessing the Integrity of Safety Critical Components with Complex Loading History

University of Bristol - Mechanical Engineering

Salary/stipend Minimum £16,000 p.a. subject to contracts

Hours Full time

Duration 3.5 years

Closing date Open until filled

The project:

Safety-sensitive industries, such as nuclear, use structural integrity assessment procedures to ensure the continuous and safe operation of critical components. The procedures such as BS 7910 and R6 are regularly reviewed and expanded to reflect the requirements of users and the results of new research. There is a continuing demand to increase the accuracy of these procedures, with the aim of demonstrating increased defect-tolerance, and applying them without compromising structural safety. The context of this PhD is within the field of structural integrity and part of a bigger body of work that will be feeding into updating the assessment codes to achieve a more reliable safety margin while decreasing the unnecessary over-conservatism. 

This is an exciting opportunity to work in a highly motivated and vibrant research intensive group as well as spending time at a leading industrial institute in the field, i.e. TWI (The Welding Institute). 

Further Particulars

You will be working as a member of a solid mechanics group at the University of Bristol, a world-renowned research team in the field of Structural Integrity. During your studies you will be performing experiments such as multi-axial fracture and deep hole drilling at University of Bristol's state of the art mechanical testing and residual stress measurement laboratories. You will be expected to participate in experiments carried out at big national and international facilities such as Diamond Light Source, Didcot, and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France, to validate your laboratory measurements. You are expected to be highly computer literate and able to learn using software such as finite element to simulate your experiments.

This PhD is partly funded by National Structural Integrity Research Centre and as such you are expected to spend a significant amount of time at TWI facilities at Cambridge. The student will be required to start his/her research at University of Bristol before moving to TWI, Cambridge. You will have academic supervisors at the University of Bristol and an industrial supervisor, from TWI: Professor Isabel Hadley, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project at Please select Mechanical Engineering (PhD) on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of the studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Candidate requirements: 

Home/EU applicants only
First-class honours degree in, or expected to achieve, in Maths, Physics or Engineering

Basic skills and knowledge required:

Good ability in experimental solid mechanics and a grasp of computer coding (e.g. Matlab)

Ability and willingness to travel nationally and internationally.

Willingness to conduct the research between the University of Bristol and TWI, Cambridge


Scholarship covers full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to 1st September 2016) and a generous tax-free annual stipend (at least £16,000 p.a., subject to contracts).  EU nationals resident in the EU will qualify only for PhD tuition fees unless they have been permanently resident in the UK for at least the last three years.

Contacts:   Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi (

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South West England