Postgraduate Research Opportunity: The Virtual Tribometer: Predictive Modelling of Wear and Friction via Large-scale Mesoscopic Simulations of Material Interactions

University of Leeds

Value: Funding covers the cost of fees and provides a maintenance matching the Research Council UK rate (£14,777 for 2018/19). UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.

Supervisors: Contact Dr Daniel RuprechtDr Mark Wilson or Professor Anne Neville to discuss this project further informally. 

Project description

This project is about creating realistic computer simulations of material behaviour to help in the design of such applications. Recent PhD work in the School of Mechanical Engineering has delivered a new way of directly simulating material degradation via a new mesoscopic particle-based approach known as Movable Cellular Automata (MCA). However, due to computational constraints, the model is currently limited in the size of systems that can be tackled. In this project, the PhD student will extend and improve the model both in terms of realism and computational efficiency. A physically meaningful coupling of local load conditions from a continuum-based contact mechanics model with boundary conditions will be devised for the particle-based MCA approach. To extend the current limitations on system size, we will develop and implement new tailored parallel solution algorithms to enable efficient simulation of large systems.

The outcome of the research will be a unique ‘Virtual Tribometer’ – a computer simulation version of an experimental device used for physical testing of materials in moving contact with each other. This will greatly enhance the understanding and interpretation of experimental observations, as well as being a powerful exploratory design tool. The student will become part of a large and established tribology research group. Leeds hosts the large EPRSC-funded Programme Grant ‘Friction: The Tribology Enigma’ and forms half of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Tribology, of which the student will be an associate member, benefiting from the additional training provided.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master’s degree in a relevant engineering subject. Experience in programming using a language such as or similar to C/C++ and an interest in parallel computing are considered to be valuable.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is ‘The Virtual Tribometer: Predictive modelling of wear and friction via large-scale mesoscopic simulations of material interactions’ as well as Dr Daniel Ruprecht as your proposed supervisor. 

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office
e:, t: +44 (0)113 343 8000.

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Northern England