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PhD Studentship: Distinct Element Modelling of Masonry Structures

University of Birmingham - Department of Civil Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: cover home/EU stipend and fees
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th November 2021
Closes: 10th January 2022

A large number of residential and historical structures in the UK and around the world are made of masonry. Due to the low tensile strength and brittle response of these materials, as well as their deterioration (due to aging), masonry structures are particularly vulnerable to natural and man-made hazards. Evaluation of the safety of these structures with the aim of numerical or experimental modelling tools is therefore of critical importance and has been the subject of many studies during the past years. Finite Element Modelling (FEM) of masonry structures is one of the most common modelling techniques utilized for this purpose. However, application of FEM to model the nonlinear response and fracture behaviour of masonry structures requires advanced constitutive laws which are not available in all FEM packages. Additionally, the accuracy of simulations is usually limited by the limited ability of FEM in simulating crack propagation problems. Distinct Element Modelling approach is particularly interesting to address this problem as it allows simulation of fracture and crack propagation in materials following physics-based laws. This project will be aimed at application (and potentially further development) of this novel modelling technique to simulate the response of masonry components under static and dynamic loads. This will lead to better understanding of the behaviour of these complex materials and hence better and safer design of masonry structures. In this project, you will have the opportunity to become familiar with advanced FEM simulations, DEM modelling as well as experimental characterisation of masonry components under complex loading conditions. Additional training on soft skills will also be provided.

We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated home/UK student with good interpersonal skills and a keen interest in research. You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honors degree or a distinction or high merit at MSc level (or international equivalent) in Civil Engineering, mathematics or a related subject. Preference will be given to candidates with educational and/or research experience in engineering. Experience in general coding/programming is essential. The candidate will be expected to have good interpersonal skills. For further details and discussion about the position, please contact Dr Bahman Ghiassi (b.ghiassi@bham.ac.uk).

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