Postgraduate research opportunities

Developing a constitutive model for rock fracture under hydraulic fatigue loading through XCT experiments.

Fracturing of rocks is an important part of several geological engineering applications geothermal energy, unconventional hydrocarbons, water resources.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


20 December 2019


27 March 2020


42 months


UK/EU students full scholarship; International students need to cover the difference between home and international fees.

Project Details

This PhD will investigate the fracture behaviour of in-situ rocks subjected to fatigue induced by hydraulic pulses. Closed-loop direct/compact tensile experiments on rock under cyclic loads will be conducted. X-CT will be used to identify the microcracks or damage caused by fatigue under different loading levels. A constitutive model will then be developed to quantitatively define the relationship between the fracture behaviour of rocks and the hydraulic pulses. This work will enable accurate prediction of rock fracture under pulses and the simulated results will benefit a technology for well stimulation; making it more effective and environmental friendly.

 The successful applicant will firstly design an experimental methodology and conduct the closed-loop direct/compact fatigue tensile tests on rocks. Stable and reliable results should be obtained and analysed for understanding the mechanism of rock degradation process under cyclic loads. X-ray CT equipment will be used to identify the fatigue crack characteristics during/after the mechanical tests. A fatigue fracture constitutive model will be proposed and parameterised by the experimental results.

Funding Details

Fees, stipend and project expenses


Dr Shangtong Yang; co-supervisor(s) to be identified.

Number of places


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 will benefit from interaction with other academics and PhD students within an active research community, as well as being embedded within the SMART Pumps for Subsurface Engineering Project, a joint EPSRC-industry funded multi-institutional partnership, and interacting and engaging with researchers at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.