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PhD Position: Development of Low-cost Sensor Technology for the Predictive Maintenance of Hydraulic Machines

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin - Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Dublin - Ireland
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: €16,000
£14,230.42 converted salary* per annum for a period of 48 months.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th December 2018
Closes: 4th March 2019

The Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin invite applications for a PhD Research position. The position is funded under the Trinity College Dublin Provost PhD Award programme and these doctoral awards are generously funded through the Universities alumni donations and Trinity’s Commercial Revenue Unit.

The Project

The project will include the development of diagnostic tools based on vibration analysis. Vibration in hydraulic machines will be detected using sensors placed on the machine by means of smart, low-cost affordable hardware. Supporting software solutions to analyse and interpret the data will also be developed.

The water industry is the 4th most energy intensive sector in the EU, and is responsible for considerable contributions to CO2 emissions.  Pumping of water is the most energy intensive activity within water supply. In addition many opportunities exist for the installation of hydropower turbines in water pipelines to reduce net demand. Significant efforts have been made in recent years to improve the efficiency of these hydraulic machines (pumps and turbines). However hydraulic machines require regular maintenance, and maintenance problems are known to greatly reduce efficiency, with consequent environmental impacts.

The global market for hydraulic machinery corresponds to €10.7 billion for pumps and €2.4 billion for turbines, illustrating the scale of these activities. This project aims to develop and test an innovative suite of sensor technology for the predictive maintenance of hydraulic machines, using an Internet Of Things (IOT) approach.

The data collected from the sensor suite will be transmitted through low-power wide-area networks and analysed in real-time to detect the onset of machinery faults. This will enable early detection of faults to allow the required repairs to be complete in advance of catastrophic failures, reduction in power output (turbines), or increases in power consumption (pumps).

The selected Ph.D. candidate will develop a comprehensive suite of low-cost sensors to monitor the condition of pumps and turbines in various states of repair. This project will build on previous TCD projects (, and

The applicant & funding

In addition to the main research work, the successful applicant will also be expected to contribute to the production of project reports and scientific papers on the topic. Applicants with a masters or bachelors degree in areas of Engineering or Science relating to one or more of the core areas of the project will be considered.

Applicants with a 1st class honours degree or equivalent are strongly encouraged. Funding for the research project, commencing in September 1st 2019, will be €16,000 per annum for a period of 48 months. In addition the funding will cover full EU or Non-EU university fees.

Candidates are asked to send a cover letter, full CV and the names of two referees to the address below. Closing date March 4th 2019.

Dr Aonghus McNabola

Head of Department,

Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering,

Trinity College Dublin,



Telephone +353-1-8963837


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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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