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PhD Studentship: Real-time material degradation monitoring and assessment of waste containers using correlative non-contact non-destructive evaluation

University of Bristol - Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bristol
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: From £17,668 p.a. (2022/23 rate) for 3.5 years subject to eligibility status and confirmation of award
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 23rd November 2022
Closes: 31st January 2023

Project Title: Real-time material degradation monitoring and assessment of waste containers using correlative non-contact non-destructive evaluation

The project:

Nuclear power is an essential part of our sustainable electricity supply. As we move towards a net zero future the call on nuclear will be grow. A significant and well-known downside of nuclear power is the waste material and its safe storage. This PhD project focuses on safe and sustainable storage for future generations. In-situ measurements will be crucial for precise real time understanding of the waste containers structural condition to ensure safe storage. Non-destructive methods and improved accuracy, precision, and limits of detection together with uncertainty quantification will pave the way for reducing management costs of facilities while maintaining low risk levels.

The aim of PhD is to devise remote strain and temperature measurement techniques to feed into a real time structural integrity (SI) assessment methodology to evaluate the condition of waste packages and/or spent fuel racks. The outcome is a demonstration that integrity safety cases can be based on the inspection capabilities devised in PhD.  The main challenge is to detect and characterise small defects at an early stage (less than ~5 mm) so that mitigation measures could be designed accordingly. The research question is can imaging techniques be used to gather quantitative information from small defects located on the surface and sub-surface of the material.

The PhD project will develop a new means of deriving degradation in the welds and packaging based on non-contact high fidelity imaging procedures to reveal flaw surface dimensions to be used in probabilistic approaches to predict remnant life.  The project will involve using state of the art techniques such a digital image correlation (DIC) and high fidelity infra-red thermography (IRT), as well as applying ex-situ ultrasonic modelling and testing to generate correlations between flaw surface dimensions and depths.

This project is challenging and ambitious and is intended to gain more understanding of the mechanical behaviour of materials and particularly joining procedures in extreme conditions. We are looking for a talented, enthusiastic researcher to join our diverse team. The successful candidate will be based in the Solid Mechanics Research Group a world-leading research team at the University of Bristol.

How to apply:

To apply for this studentship, submit a PhD application using our online application system [www.bristol.ac.uk/pg-howtoapply]

Please ensure that in the Funding section you tick “I would like to be considered for a funding award from the Mechanical Engineering Department” and specify the title of the scholarship in the “other” box below along with the name of the supervisor.  Interested candidates should apply as soon as possible.

Candidate requirements: 

Applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of a 2:1 MEng, MPhys or an MSc (or international equivalent) in physics or engineering with a preference for mechanics.

Contacts:  

For questions about the research topic please contact Dr Nicolas Larrosa or Prof Janice Barton

For questions about eligibility and the application process please contact CAME Postgraduate Research Admissions came-pgr-admissions@bristol.ac.uk

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