Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering & Surveying, and will be supervised by Dr Laurie Clough and Dr Nikos Nanos.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Desktop investigation of suitable high strength materials and composites.
  • Material characterisation experimentation using impact rigs, drop-hammer and high strain rate testing. 
  • Post-test microscopic investigation of material samples to determine failure mechanisms.
  • Numerical modelling of cladding panels under blast load using material properties from characterisation testing.

Critical infrastructure in the UK and throughout the world are under constant threat of attack from explosive events (terrorist, accidental and state sponsored). To protect these buildings, structures and their inhabitants a new high-strength cladding system will be developed. The cladding system will prevent blast loads and high-speed debris from entering a building (protecting inhabitants), and absorb the majority of high blast wave energy, minimising blast load transfer and subsequent damage to underlying structures. By minimising damage, the probability of full building collapse is reduced. These cladding systems will be retrofitted to existing vulnerable buildings, or fitted to new critical infrastructure. This PhD will investigate novel materials and composites for use in the cladding panels via high impact and high strain rate experimental testing. Characteristic properties and failure mechanisms of the materials and composites will be determined via experimental testing and post-test microscopic investigations. Experimental testing will be accompanied with numerical studies to predict cladding panel response to explosive blast loads.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Numerical modelling (Finite Element Analysis) experience is essential.


How to apply

We encourage you to contact Dr Laurie Clough ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Civil Engineering PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: SCES7710423.