Research Associate in Structural Integrity

University of Bristol - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Based in a world leading research team in the Solid Mechanics Research Group (SMRG) within the School of Civil, Aerospace, and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol this is an exciting opportunity to join a world leading and vibrant team comprising more than 20 researchers.

This post is defined within a collaborative programme of research led by Frazer-Nash Consultancy as part of a successful Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) application funded by the UK Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). You will be using the latest experimental techniques to understand the fracture behaviour of thick and thin section safety-critical welded components in future nuclear reactor designs (Generation IV and Small Modular Reactors). Your focus will be on Laser and Electron Beam welded components and the influence of the residual stress induced by these joining technologies on their structural integrity. You will work closely with a post-doctoral research associate focussing on the mechanistic modelling of these advanced joining technologies. Further, it is expected that you will work in close collaboration with industrial partners, manage your time within a multi-disciplinary team, and ensure successful delivery of the project. You should be willing to travel within the UK and occasionally across Europe.

You will use state of the art materials testing tools, such as digital image correlation, to measure the fracture toughness and displacements around the cracks and investigate the plastic constraint impact on the fracture of stainless steel. Based on the new understandings obtained in this project, you will make recommendations to improve engineering assessment methods used by the industry to evaluate the integrity of components with various plastic constraint levels. Obtaining high quality experimental data required for numerical analyses, undertaken by Frazer Nash Consultancy, will be a crucial part of this work. It is, therefore, important that you have a good understanding of the requirements of numerical methods (e.g. finite element analysis) to provide the modellers at Frazer Nash Consultancy with sufficient information.

You will have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering or Materials Science (or closely related discipline) and have experience of experimental fracture mechanics (e.g. operation of hydraulic controllers and preferably digital image correlation) as well as a wider knowledge of structural integrity (fatigue, fracture, residual stress, and welding technologies) and joining technology of metallic materials.

This post is offered on a full time open ended basis with funding for up to 18 months in the first instance. It is anticipated that interviews will take place late January/early February 2018. Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi (

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture.  We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.

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South West England