Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates


Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

This 3-year self-funded 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 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 grades and types 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 the reinforced concrete to these combined loading regimes has not been investigated.

Primarily non-linear finite element analyses to model concrete structures under blast and thermal load regimes. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) in conjunction with numerical studies will be used to predict blast and thermal loads.

Verification would be undertaken using data from blast and thermal experimental trials, collaborating with other academic institutions and industry. Design and undertaking of experimental trials, including de-coupled drop hammer and thermal lab based trials.

Entry requirements

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 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 project code ACES4530219Please note: to be considered for this self-funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code when applying.

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.

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