EPSRC Funded PhD Studentship Improving Dynamic Building Performance Using Soil-Structure Interaction

Reference Code: CI612

Closing Date: 30th June 2013


Name of Supervisor (s)
Dr Helen Mitrani, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Dr Sean Wilkinson, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Dr Mohamed Rouainia, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Duration of the award
3.5 years

Project description
Dynamic loading can result from many sources, including earthquakes; wind; transport systems and machinery. These loads can be very damaging for buildings if not properly considered in design. For example, the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand in 2011 resulted in 181 fatalities, approximately 100,000 buildings damaged or destroyed and lasting economic consequences.

The effects of dynamic loading on structures can be mitigated by using energy dissipation devices such as isolators or dampers. These are being adopted more frequently for buildings in seismic zones, to avoid the damage caused by the large deformations resulting from conventional seismic design. These methods are effective but can be expensive, are not suitable for all types of structure and can only be applied to individual buildings. Similarly, isolators can be used under railways in urban areas, to prevent damage to nearby buildings but may not have been included on existing lines.

A different approach is to modify the soil to reduce the motion affecting structures or to encourage beneficial interaction between the structure and soil. This will result in reduced damage due to dynamic loading or allow more efficient structures. This project will use numerical and small-scale experimental modelling (for example the Newcastle University shaking table) to investigate low cost and widely applicable structure/soil systems that can improve structural performance.

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Value of the award and eligibility
This award is available to the candidates who meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria. A full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,726 (2013-14).

Person specification
The project would be suitable for someone with a good knowledge of either structural engineering or geotechnics. Applicants should be numerate, have a first-class or upper-second-class Honours degree in Civil/Structural Engineering or a suitably related subject and be able to demonstrate an understanding of the dynamic behaviour of soils and structures. Experience of programming and/or numerical modelling would be beneficial. The candidate must be able to confidently work independently and show initiative, but also be able to work well with others.

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form inserting the reference number CI612 and selecting ‘PhD school of Civil Engineering and Geosciences’ as the programme of study. Only mandatory fields need to be completed, plus a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference number CI612 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

Further information
For further information, please contact:
Dr Helen Mitrani
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 222 7099
E-mail: helen.mitrani@ncl.ac.uk

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