EngD Vacancies Computational tools for assessing building vulnerability from tsunamis

Project Partner: HR Wallingford

Project Background: The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2010, demonstrated the devastating effects that tsunami can have on the built environment. Yet, from an engineering perspective there are still many questions as to what the forces on buildings subject to tsunami are, and hence how we might mitigate their effect. The focus of this EngD study is on developing original research on estimating the forces acting on buildings (within an urban environment) due to the impact and run-up of a tsunami. The project will involve combining together results from numerical models developed in the project with an existing database of unique experimental results. The scientific gap and challenge to be able to accurately estimate the distribution of force over the surface of a building, the total force on the building and how this is influenced by the properties of the incident flow. The current project looks to develop computational tools to be able to assess the force on idealised models of buildings, and to develop techniques that will enable this information to be incorporated into large-scale computational models that can assess the potential for building damage. The appointed student will be part of a team of researchers working on tsunami effects on buildings and coastal infrastructure within the EPICentre research group and actively involved with HR Wallingford, the UK’s largest coastal engineering testing and research facility.

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Studentship Description:  The work will be computational and involve using in-house or shareware codes to assess the forces on buildings individually and in groups. The computational results will be compared against analytical models and unique experimental data from the UCL and HR Wallingford fluids laboratories. The purpose will be to develop guidance on how tsunami flow on and around buildings can be modelled in order to provide input to tsunami coastal risk assessments. The student will be a member of the Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience and part of the multi-disciplinary research group EPICentre (www.epicentreonline.com). S/he will form part of a larger team looking at tsunami risk estimation.  

The student will also be expected to engage with HR Wallingford, and spend some time on its premises undertaking research activity related to the project. There may be a chance that the student will be able to participate in some experimental work at both UCL and Wallingford. 

Student Background: Applicants should have a good honours degree (ideally a 1st or 2:1 minimum) in mathematics, mechanical engineering, physical or environmental science, computer science or civil engineering. This is a computational project and experience of programming C++, data handling and visualisation and a good understanding of fluid mechanics is required. You should be able to demonstrate excellent organisational and communication skills, have the interpersonal skills to work as part of a professional team, while also possessing the self-motivation and enthusiasm to work alone. 

Applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/Pages/eligibility.aspx 

Application Procedure: Please visit http://engd-usar.cege.ucl.ac.uk/vacancies/ and upload a covering letter and CV (as one document) demonstrating how you meet the criteria and your passion for the research area.  

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Closing Date: 31st October2013

Start Date: 13th January 2014 for 4-years full time

Fees: Fully paid

Stipend: £15,726 pa (tax-free)

For informal enquiries, please contact Professor Ian Eames i.eames@ucl.ac.uk

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