Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

October 2019

Application deadline

30th June 2019

This project is now closed. The details below are for information purposes only.

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying and will be supervised by Dr Laurie Clough, Dr David Begg and Dr Stephanie Barnett.

The bursary is available to UK and EU students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant in line with the RCUK rate (£15,009 for 2019/20).  Bursary recipients will also receive a £1,500 p.a. for project costs/consumables.

The work on this project will:

  • Investigate the response of reinforced concrete to thermal and blast loads using combined numerical simulations and experimental verification
  • Design and undertaking of experimental trials, including impact / dynamic and high temperature thermal trials.


The thermo-mechanical response of structures to combined thermal and blast loads is a complex and highly important area of research. This project will investigate the response of reinforced concrete to these loading regimes using combined numerical simulations and experimental verification. The researcher will examine a range concrete structures under these loads investigating the overall structural performance (shear, bending, tension compression) and material degradation.

In the protection of buildings, infrastructure and people against terrorist events a fuller understanding of the combined effect of blast and thermal loads on structures is required. Research in this area has primarily focused on blast loads alone, however the response of reinforced concrete to these combined loading regimes has not been investigated.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) will be used in combination with numerical studies blast and thermal loads. Non-linear finite element analyses (FEA) will be adopted to model reinforced concrete structures under blast and thermal load regimes. Verification would be undertaken using data from blast and thermal experimental trials, including potential collaborations with industry. Design and undertaking of experimental trials, including dynamic / impact and high temperature thermal trials.

Entry Requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering or related discipline. 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.

We’d welcome applications from candidates with experience of computational modelling (structural) and further industry and/or research experience. You should be highly motivated and able to direct and manage your own research project.

How to apply

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

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Civil Engineering and Surveying’ as the subject area. 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. 

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code ACES4530219 when applying.