PhD Studentship in Numerical Modelling of Rock Drilling





PhD Studentship in Numerical Modelling of Rock Drilling

Duration: 36 months


Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship with the details as described below.


Background: As oil and gas resources become less accessible, improved drilling techniques and capabilities are becoming necessary. In particular, this includes the need for the design of more efficient drill bits. The development of a modelling framework capable of simulating fracture and fragmentation or rocks will require a detailed understanding of the relationship between elasticity, plasticity and fracture mechanics. To achieve this goal, a PhD project has been funded by National Oilwell Varco (NOV), a worldwide leader in providing drilling related equipment to the oil and gas industry.


Technical Scope: This PhD project will focus on developing a novel numerical model to robustly and efficiently simulate the fracture and fragmentation that occurs in rocks during drilling. As part of the project, the student will improve and extend an existing finite-discrete element based in-house C++ geomechanical fragmentation simulator.



Requirements: Applicants should have a Bachelors (or equivalent) and Master’s degree (or equivalent) in rock mechanics, mechanical engineering, physics, computational mathematics, or any area of science/engineering that provides a strong background in numerical modelling. Applicants should also possess the following knowledge and skills:

  • Mechanics: knowledge of continuum mechanics.

  • Scientific Programming: ability to program in a scientific programming language such as C/C++ or Python.

  • Communication: excellent writing and presentation skills.

Other details: This is a 3-year PhD studentship, which will pay the Imperial College tuition fees, plus a non-taxable bursary of £16,000 per year. The student will work under the supervision of Dr Adriana Paluszny and Professor Robert Zimmerman, with frequent interaction with staff from NOV. The project will involve becoming acquainted with testing machinery, and will include several off-campus visits to various NOV locations. The project will start on 1 October 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter.


Application Procedure: To apply, send a copy of your CV, including academic transcripts, to Professor Robert Zimmerman, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, [email protected].


The prospectus, entry requirements and application form (under ‘how to apply’) are available at: www.imperial.ac.uk/pgprospectus.


Closing date: 30 September 2013


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