PhD Studentship - Swansea University Excellence Research Scholarship: Extreme Wave Interaction with Rubble Mound Breakwaters: a Hybrid Numerical Model

Swansea University - Engineering

The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of student excellence.

Project details:

Rubble mound breakwaters have been used extensively in coastal regions to protect ports and shorelines. Engineers design/maintain rubble mound breakwaters mainly on the basis of scaled physical model tests and empirical formulae. Despite testing, unexpected damage to breakwaters still occurs due to extreme waves. This makes the maintenance of existing and design of new rubble mound breakwaters troublesome, because of the ill-defined nature of destructive environmental forces. Studying all extreme scenarios experimentally would be ideal, but is impractical because of the constraints in budgets, time and laboratory facilities. Thus an accurate and efficient modelling of extreme wave interactions with breakwaters would provide an efficient and sorely needed tool for engineering applications.

Numerical studies of extreme wave impacts on breakwaters are very limited because of the great difficulty in handling the rapidly changing domain and discontinuity of fluid motion (e.g. in the case of wave breaking upon impact). Another challenge is to model the rubble mound units of irregular shapes, whose interactions with water are complex. To address this knowledge gap, the aim of the PhD project is to develop an accurate and efficient numerical model by combining two novel particle-based numerical methods (that have intrinsic advantages in handling wave impacts and solid objects), to investigate the extreme wave interaction with rubble mound breakwaters.

Projected Research Outcome

The key outcome of this research project will be the development of a powerful meshless numerical model to simulate complex water-solid two-phase flow problems in coastal engineering which also has great potential for application to river and geotechnical engineering problems. The intention is to make the code open source and integrate it into the ZCCE software platform to enhance potential impacts. The laboratory data will also serve as an important supplement to the existing coastal engineering community experimental/field database.

Supervisor/Academic contact: Dr Min Luo

The successful applicant will also have access to our Postgraduate Research Student Training programmes.


Academic requirements:

Candidates should have (or expect to obtain) a first class honours degree (or equivalent) and/or a master's degree with distinction in a relevant subject area, such as civil engineering or other cognate disciplines. 

Applicants should have experience of numerical simulation and Fortran/C/C++ programming. Knowledge of PIV setup and operation experience is desirable.

Residency criteria:

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding Details

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,553 for 3 years. 

There will also be £1,000 per annum available for research expenses such as travel, accommodation, field trips and conference attendance.

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