PhD Studentship: Engineering Nonlinearity in Structural Dynamics

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The project: Today’s competitive requirements are pushing engineering towards situations where our capabilities for predicting and controlling the vibration and shock resilience of structures, which are usually assumed to be linear systems, are frequently inadequate. The particular limitation that is encountered is that, under operating conditions, and especially under severe or abnormal service conditions, the dynamic loads and resulting displacements experienced take the structures into regimes where their behaviour is decidedly nonlinear. Under such conditions, the models which are constructed to describe low-amplitude linear behaviour often fail when applied to real-world service conditions.

The primary objective of this project is to develop a methodology for delivering validated simulation models capable of describing the dynamics of complex engineering structures which contain nonlinear elements. Such a methodology will provide the means for designing and maintaining complex and critical structures with much increased confidence and will rely on highly selective, optimised, use of the expensive testing stages essential to ensure capture of all the important physical phenomena in play.

In addition to this primary engineering perspective there is another more fundamental, issue to be addressed in this project. To raise advanced testing methods to a level of sophistication and cost-effectiveness enjoyed (or at least, claimed) by advanced simulation methods, it is appropriate to examine the question of exactly which data are required from a test in order to carry out the desired validation of the associated mathematical model. It has been realised for some time that most tests are highly inefficient in that an order-of-magnitude more data are routinely measured than are actually useful in the ensuing identification or validation procedures for which they have been acquired. The issue of importance here is the order of the model that is necessary so that it is capable of simulating the required dynamic behaviour to the required degree of accuracy or reliability. Therefore, how many coefficients must be defined to describe the dynamic behaviour of the nonlinear element(s) so as to predict the response correctly? It is important to have just enough, and no more, and an understanding of how to achieve the situation will constitute one of the more academic aspects of the proposed research – and will provide valuable insight that will enable efficient use of the specific tools to be developed in this project.

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Candidate requirements: Available from October 2013 for 3.5 years. 

Candidates are required to have a background in dynamics and/or non linear mathematics and would be suitable for a graduate in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering, Material Science, Physics, Mathematics or related subjects.

Funding: Studentship covers full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to application) PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the current RCUK rate (£13,726 in 2013/14), plus an enhanced stipend of £10,000 per year. EU nationals resident in the EU may also apply and will qualify only for PhD tuition fees.

How to apply: Please make an online application for this project at the apply button below. Please select ‘Mechanical Engineering PhD’ on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Contacts: Dr Di Maio or Prof Ewins

Deadline for applications: until filled

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