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PhD Studentship (Sponsored by Lloyds Register Foundation) -Robustness of steel-framed offshore structures against fire and blast

PhD Studentship (Sponsored by Lloyds Register Foundation) -Robustness of steel-framed offshore structures against fire and blast


Fire and blast loading have become major concerns since the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988. For the safety design of the offshore structures, one of the major considerations is the robustness of the structures against fire and explosion. Structural performance under fire and blast loading is a complex topic and extensive research is needed. The offshore structures need to have the capability to prevent the progressive collapse of the structures when some key structural members, such as columns are destroyed due to fire or destroyed in an explosion. The dramatic collapse of the twin towers at the World Trade Centre in September 2001 is an enduring image of progressive collapse. Progressive collapse of a structure is defined as the disproportionate failure of a large section of the structure following damage to a relatively small area. The collapse of a structure in service is likely to be accompanied by heavy loss of life. 

Project Outline


The main aim of this 3-year PhD project is to comprehensively investigate the mechanisms of progressive collapse of the typical offshore steel-framed structures under accidental fire and explosion conditions. Proposed work are to: (1) examine analytically the performance of a series of typical steel-framed offshore structures subjected to the damages resulted from the fire and explosion; (2) identify the mechanisms (tying action, bridging, slab membrane) by which different structural components in the damaged frame can prevent collapse; (3) determine the nature and magnitude of the loads redistributed across a range of damaged multi-storey steel-framed structures and understand how the interaction of different structural members leads to generation of stresses across the whole complex structure; (4) assess the validity and weakness of current international design guidelines for offshore structures; (5) propose the design recommendations to enhance the structural integrity and robustness of steel-framed offshore structures against fire and explosion.



About Industrial Sponsor


The Lloyd’s Register Foundation funds the advancement of engineer-related education and research and supports work that enhances safety of life at sea, on land and in the air, because life matters. Lloyd’s Register Foundation is partly funded by the profits of their trading arm Lloyd’s Register Group Limited, a global engineering, technical and business services organisation. 



About Brunel


Brunel University’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) is one of the leading engineering departments in the UK, and with over 1250 students, as well as 150 academic staff, it is also one of the largest. Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering is the combination of Brunel University’s most established subjects, Mechanical Engineering, with both Aerospace and Civil Engineering. The Structural Fire Engineering Research Group comprises of four academic staff and about 10 postdoctoral researchers and PhD students. The group conducts pioneering research on the buildings’ behaviour under fire and explosion. 



Candidate Requirements


Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree.


ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS Candidates with suitable work experience and strong capacity in numerical modelling and experimental skills are particularly welcome to apply. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 6.5) if applicable.



Funding Notes


This project is funded by Lloyds Register Foundation, TWI and academic partners. The studentship will provide successful Home/EU students with a stipend of £16k/year and will cover the cost of tuition fees. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply, with total funding up to £24k/year. 



Application Deadline


31 August 2017.