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PhD Studentship: Dynamic Response and Resilient Design of Deep Water Offshore Wind Turbines

University of Bath - Architecture and Civil Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th January 2019
Closes: 30th April 2019

Modern day society needs require energy savings and decarbonisation of the built environment. Alternative and renewable energy sources are becoming more attractive and new ways for energy harvesting are explored. Wind energy is considered a sustainable and renewable energy which is growing fast in the UK and globally. To take advantage of high wind speeds, offshore wind turbines (OWT) are now built and there are plans for these to be extended into deeper waters.

Although this is a very promising green energy technology, there are still some challenges to be overcome. New OWTs to be built in deeper waters require taller and more slender towers which are more sensitive to lateral loads from wind and sea waves. Moreover, alternative foundation techniques need to be explored which consider multi-directional load and large values of base shear and bending moment. In many cases the natural frequencies of vibration of these OWTs are close to the various forcing frequencies that are imposed on them and therefore detrimental resonance and dynamic amplification may be possible.

This project aims to investigate the dynamic response of OWTs subjected to dynamic loads primarily from the wind and sea waves. Particular attention will be paid on the dynamic structural behaviour of the tower subjected to combined transient wind and wave loading. The reaction from the foundation at the sea bed will be explored in order to investigate the effects of foundation arrangements and how this soil-structure interaction may affect the natural frequencies of the OWT. The project will involve analytical and numerical analysis with both in-house developed codes and commercial software. Therefore, the suitable candidate should have a strong interest in engineering mechanics, structural/geotechnical modelling and computational analysis. This is currently an active research topic that is expected to lead to a series of publications in top journals and its outcomes can support the broader research area of offshore structures and structural dynamics and soil-structure interaction. The student will acquire valuable analytical/computational analysis skills and knowledge of an emerging field that are directly relevant to the Industry and may have the chance to interact with practising engineers.

This project has elements of both Structural and Geotechnical Engineering and would be relevant to students interested in structural dynamics and computational modelling. A new £1.8M structural dynamics physical testing facility has recently been developed in Bath, so, although the main focus of this project is on analytical and computational modelling, interested students may have the opportunity to conduct relevant state-of-the-art experiments.

Informal enquiries should be directed Dr Loizos Pelecanos ( and Dr Antony Darby (

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Civil Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Funding will cover Home/EU tuition fees, a maintenance stipend (£14,777 pa (2018/19 rate)) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum for 3.5 years. Early application is strongly recommended.

The successful applicant will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree or MSc distinction (or equivalent).

English language requirements must be met at the time of application.

Expected start date: 30th September 2019

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