Industrial CASE PhD Studentship in Dynamics of Fragmented Multibody Structures

This is a 3.5-year Industrial CASE PhD studentship at Durham University, co-funded by EPSRC and EDF Energy. The annual tax-free stipend is £17,188. The starting date is flexible, between 1st October 2013 and 1st October 2014, although an early starting date is preferred.

From its industrial end this research is situated in the context of nuclear safety and it is related to the modeling of aging nuclear plant graphite cores. From an academic end this research is concerned with validation of numerical techniques suitable for dynamical modeling of large-scale structural systems exhibiting fragmentation, impacts and friction (i.e. non-smoothness). You will join a community of workers concerned with experimental, numerical and theoretical modeling of non-smooth mechanical systems. Your research will draw on experiments currently pursued at the University of Bristol as well as on an experimental work in preparation at the University of Rijeka, the design of which you will be able to influence. Your work will be primarily computational, based on the application of the non-smooth contact dynamics software called SOLFEC, and it will contribute to its validation in the context of nuclear safety. You will explore a variety of aspects, ranging from purely theoretical (e.g. convergence theory), through computational (e.g. parallel determinism, role of round-off), to more practical (e.g. sensitivity to model parameters). You will implement existing and propose new validation benchmarks, working closely with your colleagues on the experimental side (Rijeka). You will also critically assess and propose improvements to the numerical formulation currently implemented in SOLFEC, some of which you may be able to implement in the course of your project.

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Candidates must have a strong background in engineering and mathematical sciences. Good communication skills are essential (you will be delivering quarterly progress reports to our industrial partner as well as sharing your results during conferences and workshops in an international setting). Experience with using HPC software in the Unix environment and ability to program in languages such as C and Python will be an advantage. Prior experience with computational modeling using FEA software will be welcome. Due to funding restrictions EPSRC student eligibility criteria apply.

For further information please contact Dr. Tomasz Koziara ( or Prof. Jon Trevelyan ( at the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences at Durham University.

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