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EPSRC DTP Studentship - The Added-Basement Effect: Ground-borne Vibration and the Impact of Subterranean Property Developments

University of Cambridge - Department of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cambridge
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th March 2019
Closes: 28th June 2019
Reference: NM18449

Underground railways can be a significant source of ground-borne vibration, causing disturbance to building occupants and disruption to equipment in specialist buildings.  Some locations suffering from increases in vibration levels are associated with areas of the railway where rail roughness - the primary cause of vibration - is known to have remained unchanged.  Recent work has concluded that subterranean property developments, such as building foundations, water/sewage tunnels and underground basements, have significant potential to modify the ground vibration field, redirecting vibration energy to previously undisturbed buildings.  To help facilitate the assessment of future developments, as well as informing revisions to the planning process, there is a clear need for new guidance.

This project will apply fundamental engineering science, underpinned by site measurements, to develop a full understanding of the problem, as well as investigate potential mitigation measures.  There are three broad objectives.

A study will be undertaken to understand fully the nature of the problem: to quantify the changes in vibration levels associated with construction in the vicinity of an underground railway.  Semi-analytical and numerical models will be used to develop an understanding of the fundamental dynamic behavior, building upon the Cambridge PiP model for underground railway tunnels, as well as recent work in the area of soil-structure interaction and boundary-element modelling.  The research will be designed to enable the development of practicable guidance and the necessary analysis tools required by practitioners.

Techniques used in the vibration isolation of buildings will be used as the basis for investigating ways in which the impact of new basements may be mitigated.  This includes the potential incorporation of elastomeric material within the outer walls of basement structures to minimise wave reflections.

Where possible, site measurements will be used to assist with model validation, in collaboration with Transport for London and other industrial partners.  Advantage will be taken of current research developing low-cost instrumentation for the widespread monitoring of ground-borne vibration.

The project is funded by EPSRC and Farrat Isolevel Ltd, a leading supplier of vibration isolation solutions.  The research will be conducted in collaboration with Farrat and associated partners, to ensure practical implementation of the research outcomes.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) the equivalent of a UK first class honours degree (and preferably a Masters degree) in Mechanical or Structural Engineering.  Preference will be given to those with experience in Structural Dynamics.  EPSRC DTP studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students or provide fees only for EU students from outside the UK. Further details about eligibility can be found at:

Expressions of interest, indicating nationality and funding status, together with a CV and the names and contact details for two referees, should be sent to Dr James Talbot (  Provisional closing date:  28th June 2019, but earlier application is advised.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Thus, selected Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £60 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via:

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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