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Fully Funded EPSRC CASE PhD: Numerical Modelling of Concrete Rheology in Deep Foundation Construction

Swansea University - Civil Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,009 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th October 2019
Closes: 24th November 2019

This scholarship is funded by the EPSRC and ARUP Ltd. 

Start date: January 2020 

Project description:

Over the past decade, the rapid development of concrete admixtures and their increasing use in ready mix concrete has fundamentally changed the design of tremie concrete. Improvements have been made to concrete workability during placement, stability during setting and long-term durability. Costs savings have been made by reducing the cement content. However, the dependence on powerful chemicals makes the rheology of concrete ever more sensitive to its composition, mixing and workmanship. This has resulted in many construction problems on site. The discrepancy between tremie concrete mix design, foundation design and the construction practice raises a paramount challenge to the civil engineering and construction industries. 

To address these critical issues, the European Federation of Foundation Contractors (EFFC) and the US Deep Foundation Institute (DFI) jointly released in June 2018 the EFFC/DFI Guide to Tremie Concrete for Deep Foundations. Arup and Swansea teams are both active members in the EFFC/DFI Task Group and made major contributions to the delivery of the Guide. 

This CASE PhD research project will build on the existing numerical modelling work undertaken for the EFFC/DFI Tremie Concrete Guide, which left unanswered questions, to include the interface layer and interaction with the support fluid. It will input into the upgrading of specifications for reinforcement spacing, laps, and cover requirements. It will help to develop concrete mix designs that are more resistant to bleed and support fluids that are more stable. 

The research works planned include numerical simulations, lab tests and field trips. The successful candidate will not only receive full research training in numerical, experimental and data technologies, but he/she will also be directly engaged in the solution of complex problems in real-world engineering, which is in collaboration with leading industrial partners. 


Academic eligibility

Candidates should have, or be expected to gain, a first or upper second class honours degree (or its equivalent) in civil engineering or a relevant discipline (structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, aerospace engineering, mathematics). A master's degree is an advantage. 

Experience in finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, fluid mechanics and/or soil mechanics is required. 

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – 

Residential criteria

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only. 

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