Postgraduate research opportunities

Civil & Environmental Engineering

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Advanced BioMaterials for Construction and Civil Engineering


Opens:6 September 2017

This PhD will explore how bacterially generated materials can be modified by incorporation of polymers and nanoparticles to enhance their mechanical properties. In this way, bacterially generated materials could be modified for specific tasks, such as earthquake and weather resistance.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK, International, The Channels Islands and Isle of Man

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering, Mechanical and aerospace engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacy and biomedical sciences

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

bio-deterioration of concrete and conservation of architectural heritage


Opens:18 October 2017

Bio-deterioration of concrete strongly affects much of our built heritage and is particularly notable in wet territories like the UK or South East Asia. How to effectively solve bio-deterioration of concrete sculptures and buildings is an environmental, societal and scientific challenge.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK, The Channels Islands and Isle of Man

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering, Chemistry

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

Pressure Wave Propagation in Slurry Environments


Deadline:27 March 2020 Opens:20 December 2019

The hydro-transport of fluid mixtures of solid particles and liquids (ie slurries) in pipes is common to many applications, including mineral extraction, river dredging, the sewage industry and the recovery of oil and gas.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK, International, The Channels Islands and Isle of Man

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Machine Learning-Based Control of Pressure Waves in Subsurface Engineering


Deadline:27 March 2020 Opens:20 December 2019

A theoretical understanding of the movement and interaction of pressure waves (i.e. pulses) along a fluid conduit (e.g. well bore) can be developed by analytical models and laboratory test rigs. Both approaches assume that the fluid and the conduit have largely uniform and known properties.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK, International, The Channels Islands and Isle of Man

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering, Design manufacture and engineering management, Mechanical and aerospace engineering

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Postgraduate research opportunities

Formation of Hydraulic and Chemical Ground Barriers to Inhibit Contaminant Migration on Radioactively Contaminated Sites

This 4-year PhD at the University of Strathclyde will explore the use of colloidal silica hydrogel as a barrier to migration of radioactive contaminants in soils during decommissioning operations on nuclear facilities.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Opens

15 October 2019

Deadline

31 December 2019

Duration

48 months

Eligibility

Applications are invited from candidates who have achieved a first class or upper second class honours in a relevant degree, including Chemical Engineering/Chemistry/Material Science/Civil Engineering/Environmental Engineering/Geology/Environmental Science or an equivalent qualification at Masters level and must be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

This 4-year PhD at the University of Strathclyde will explore the use of colloidal silica hydrogel as a barrier to migration of radioactive contaminants in soils during decommissioning operations on nuclear facilities. Previous research work has shown that colloidal silica can be injected into the soil to create hydraulic ground barriers able to prevent contaminated groundwater transport. In this project, the potential for enhancing barrier properties will be explored to produce a combined chemical and hydraulic barrier system. The proposed research represents an exciting opportunity to conduct  fundamental research with the prospect of having a significant impact on safety and the environment.

 

The PhD will be supervised by Prof Lunn and Dr Pedrotti at the Department of Civil and Environmental Enginering, University of Strathclyde. The Department has all the required facilities for conducting the research including an Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Geotechnical Laboratory and an Advanced Materials Laboratory. The project is co-funded by the Scottish Regional Partnership in Engineering the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and will be co-supervised by Dr Draper in the Department of Chemistry, University of Glasgow. The research will be mainly experimental with the aim of modifying the colloidal silica hydrogel properties to make it a more reactive and stronger gel. The enhanced gel will then be tested for injectability into soils and concrete, and the final permeability and sorption capacity of the barrier will be determined. Key to informing gel design will be discussions with a number of industrial collaborators on potential applications for colloidal silica grout as a barrier on existing UK decommissioning sites.

Applicants are not required to have had prior experience of hydrogel chemistry, training will be provided where required. Applicants will have a relevant bachelors or masters degree, examples include civil engineering, environmental engineering, materials science, chemistry, geology and environmental science. As part of the research, the applicant will be expected to participate in relevant national and international conferences, meet with the industrial partners and to develop journal papers within the research field.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

 

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

https://www.strath.ac.uk/engineering/civilenvironmentalengineering

https://www.strath.ac.uk/research/subjects/civilenvironmentalengineering/engineeringgeosciencesgeomechanics/

https://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/research/civilenvironmentalengineering/

 

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees for 48 months and a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per year for the full four-year duration. International Students applying must be able to provide evidence and pay the difference between the UK Home Fee and the International Fee.

 

Applications are invited from candidates who have achieved a first class or upper second class honours in a relevant degree, including Chemical Engineering/Chemistry/Material Science/Civil Engineering/Environmental Engineering/Geology/Environmental Science or an equivalent qualification at Masters level and must be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research

 

Funding Details

The studentship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees for 48 months and a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per year for the full four-year duration. International Students applying must be able to provide evidence and pay the difference between the UK Home Fee and the International Fee.

Number of places

0

Postgraduate research opportunities

Pulsed fluid pumping for remediation of leakage from geological storage

This project will investigate the potential of using cyclic loading to aid remediation of contaminants in the subsurface.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Opens

20 December 2019

Deadline

30 March 2020

Duration

42 months

Eligibility

Essential: The applicant should hold a minimum of an upper second class BSc Honours degree (or equivalent) in subjects relevant to Physical Sciences.

Desirable: Additional experience or skills development relevant to geoscience or environmental engineering, such as modelling, structural geology, hydrogeology, CO2 storage.

 

The ideal candidate should have a desire to work in an interdisciplinary, applications-focused field of recognised international importance in geoscience. They will be a practical self-motivated person who will lead the development and direction of their project. Applicants should hold (or expect to get) a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree or an MSc with distinction or high merit in physical sciences, maths, or a related field. They should have some programming experience in analytical languages such as MATLAB or R.

Candidates with some prior research and/or work experience in the geological/structural/hydrological/modelling sciences will be given priority.

Project Details

Geological energy (geoenergy) options such as co2, hydrogen or compressed air energy storage and hydrogen or natural gas extraction are deemed fundamental to achieving the necessary transition to a low carbon future. to be effective, risks relating to geoenergy engineering activities must be characterised and managed. to date, most geoenergy research has focussed on robust selection, operation and monitoring approaches. relatively little attention has been paid to developing effective remediation options in the case of geofluid leakage from depth to surface away from wellbores. further, research has tended to focus on characterising flow at depth conditions relevant to storage (which tend to be deeper than 800 m below surface). this project will address these gaps by investigating pulsed flow for leakage remediation in the shallow subsurface.

multiple possible pathways for unintended leakage to surface (or shallow subsurface) of geofluids (and associated additives or contaminants) have been identified, such as improperly sealed boreholes, or geological heterogeneities such as fault zones. remediation techniques for the former are well known and studied but remediating migration away from wellbores is less well constrained. leaked fluids may migrate towards the surface, where the fluid flow and the rock properties will be different from those at depth. in order to minimise negative social and environmental risks and impacts of geofluid leakage, surface release must be minimised or avoided. remediation approaches could include either fluid extraction from newly drilled wells or the injection of fluids to clean-up (sweep, dissolve, disperse, breakdown) leaked geofluid and associated contaminants. such injection will be influenced by the host rock properties and the pumping capabilities. this phd will investigate the interplay between these factors.

the key research questions to be addressed are:

how does the flow behaviour of geoenergy fluids through (fractured) porous media change from depth towards the earth surface?

how is the flow of geoenergy fluids (e.g. co2, geothermal brine) through (fractured) porous media influenced by pulsed fluid flow?

can remediation of geoenergy fluids be improved through pulsed or steady injection of fluids into shallow subsurface?

how can pulsed fluid remediation technology be integrated into geoenergy site selection and monitoring programs?

 

 

 

 

 

Funding Details

Home/EU applicants only

Supervisor

The student would work with Dr Jen Roberts and Dr Gareth Johnson in the world-leading Centre for Ground Engineering and Energy Geosciences within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, and Dr Katriona Edlmann in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh. The Applied Geoscience Laboratory lab has sophisticated state of the art laboratory facilities capable of recreating the in-situ conditions of temperature, pressure and geochemistry along with multiphase fluid flow for depths up to 4km.

Number of places

0

Further information

The student would join the University of Strathclyde’s 60-credit postgraduate training programme leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.

 The student would join the multidisciplinary and world leading Centre for Ground Engineering and Energy Geosciences within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, an almost equal mix of engineers and geoscientists tackling the challenges of energy and resource production. The student will benefit from interaction with other academics and PhD students within this active research community, as well as being embedded within the SMART Pumps for Subsurface Engineering EPSRC-funded multi-institutional partnership, and interacting and engaging with researchers at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.

The student would graduate with a skill set suitable for employment in energy, geological risk, resource extraction, environmental engineering and geothermal industries.