This 4-year PhD at the University of Strathclyde will focus on investigating the mechanisms at the micro/particle scale underpinning the process of crack formation in clay associated with air drying and/or exposure of the clay interface to gas at high pressure.
The research will mainly be experimentally-based and the PhD candidate will make use of state of the art technologies for the investigation of the clay microstructure including X-Ray Computed Tomography, Environmental Scanning Microscopy, and Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry.
Despite 100 years of research on the macro-mechanical behaviour of clay, we are still largely ignoring underlying mechanisms at the particle scale. Clay micromechanics involves the understanding of the configuration of elements (particles) and the forces controlling the kinematics of such elements. Clay micromechanics (including the evolution of particle configuration in clays when subjected to mechanical loading) has rarely been investigated explicitly and is a young and rapidly growing discipline in the field of soil mechanics.
Besides joining a vibrant geotechnical community at Strathclyde, the candidate will join the International Research Centre For Clay Micromechanics (https://www.irccm.net ) which will provide the opportunity for international collaborations and to spend a period abroad in one of the partner universities (i.e. Chalmers University of Technology - Sweden, University of Twente - The Netherlands, Université Grenoble Alpes – France, University of Brasilia – Brazil, Politecnico di Bari – Italy, Technical University of Denmark – Denmark)
Industrial contacts will be mainly focused, but not only, towards the Carbon Storage and Sequestration sector
The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr Matteo Pedrotti and Prof Alessandro Tarantino at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.
The Department has all the required facilities for conducting the research including an Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Geotechnical Laboratory and an Advanced Materials Laboratory and training will be provided where required.
Applicants will have a relevant bachelors or master’s degree, examples include civil engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Physics. As part of the research, the applicant will be expected to participate in relevant national and international conferences, meet with the industrial/university 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:
The studentship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees for 48 months and a tax-free stipend of £15,285 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 Civil Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Physical Chemistry, Environmental Engineering, Applied Physics, Material Science and Nanotechnology or an equivalent qualification at Masters level and must be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.