PhD Studentship: CDT-SIS-415: Pipe wave modelling for Acoustic Leak Detection

University of Southampton

Leakage from pipes is a major issue in the water industry, not only in environmental terms, because of wasting an important natural resource, but also in economic and health terms. UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) have identified leakage as one of their strategic priorities and have recently set up the Zero Leakage 2050 initiative, aiming to address the question “How will we achieve zero leakage in a sustainable way by 2050 ?”

This exciting and innovative project aims to address some of the fundamental science required in order that practical solutions can be developed to meet UKWIR’s strategic objective.

Acoustic methods predominate in the armoury of available leak detection methods. However, their effectiveness can be limited by a number of factors, not least of which is sound knowledge of the propagation characteristics of all the major pipe wave propagation modes in plastic pipes.

Considerable work has already been done to characterise the axisymmetric modes of propagation but little has been done on the fundamental bending wave.

The aim of this project is to examine all the important low-frequency modes of pipe propagation, in particular the bending mode. Specifically the following will be undertaken
• Analytical modelling of the pipe bending mode for a fluid filled pipe
• Analytical/numerical modelling of the pipe bending mode for a buried pipe and evaluation of the effects of the surrounding soil
• Laboratory and field experiments to support the above

The project will be a balance of theoretical and experimental work, with some of the experimental work being undertaken at outdoor test sites in the UK, provided by the industrial partner; it would suit a candidate with both strong analytical/numerical skills and an enthusiasm for experimental measurements. The successful candidate will be working within the Dynamics Group within the ISVR but will also be associated with the Mapping the Underworld programme ( , which includes multi-disciplinary researchers from a number of UK universities.

Due to the requirement to travel to UK test sites, a full UK driving licence is required.

Funding for this project:

UK students: Full funding is available

EU students: Full funding may be available or a small top up from the student may be required, depending on the calibre of the student. Funding is competition based and the student must have at least a 2.1 degree or equivalent.

International students: A small amount of funding is available but the student must be largely self-funded. Funding is competition based and the student must have at least a 2.1 degree or equivalent.

For more information on funding eligibility and levels please contact

This project is being run in participation with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (View Website). For details of our 4 Year PhD programme and further projects, please see

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South East England