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 and Surveying, and will be supervised by Dr Mehdi Rouholamin,  Dr Alireza Tatari and Dr Muhammad Ali.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Soil element testing to characterise the soil properties and understand the effect of natural fibres in the mix. 
  • Experimentally and numerically evaluation of the response of soil-fibre interaction during transient phase to failure.
  • Investigate the behaviour of soil-fibre interaction at the microscopic level.

Understanding the behaviour of soils under static and cyclic/dynamic loading has been one of the challenging topics in geotechnical engineering. Soil as a construction material often requires further investigation to boost its stiffness and strength to be applicable in construction. There are some available techniques to improve the mechanical properties of soil such as soil reinforcement which is a successful technique to improve the engineering characteristics of soil i.e. to increase soil bearing capacity and mitigate settlement/lateral movement. Fibres are well-used to reinforce soil for different applications such as for supporting shallow/deep foundations and infrastructure developments. There has been much research carried out on the effect of various types of fibres such as the natural and synthetic types with different percentages and concentrations aspect ratios (length/diameter) used in the soil mixture. It is known that producing some of the synthetic fibres may cause CO2 emission pollution therefore considering sustainable solutions such as using natural fibres is recommended. Due to environmental changes and its circumstances such as frequent heavy rainfalls, stresses within the soils are often varied over time which caused in changing of mechanical properties of the soil. As a result of adding fibres to the soil mixture, tensile strength is developed along the shear surface after soil shearing which could be affected in saturated soil conditions as the degree of saturation might affect the mobilised tensile strength. This research aims to further investigate sustainable soil strengthening techniques using natural fibres for different soil degrees of saturation. Various experimental soil element testing, as well as numerical analysis, will carry out to investigate and evaluate the response of saturated soil-fibre interaction during the transient phase to soil failure. 

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.

You’ll need to have a decent understanding on soil mechanics.  Ability to carry out independent research, lab experiments such soil element testing using Triaxial machine is essential. You should also be capable to develop numerical modelling and prepare research articles.

How to apply

We encourage you to contact Dr Mehdi Rouholamin ( 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: SCES7670423.