Advanced composite structural elements using insitu membrane formwork

United Kingdom
Jun 16, 2016
Jun 15, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

CMEES-INF-131: Advanced composite structural elements using insitu membrane formwork

Infrastructure Group Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Thursday 15 June 2017
Reference:  746516AT

This Structural Engineering PhD project will involve blast testing using high explosives and the testing of large concrete panels to improve current understanding of force protection. It includes a placement with Explora Security Ltd at their international head office in Fulham, West London.

The car bomb was the weapon of choice for the Provisional IRA during the conflict in Northern Ireland. The industry research sponsor Explora Security Ltd is a world leading consultancy in the design and construction of fortifications that mitigate threats of this nature. Transport costs for the materials needed to build fortifications are extremely high for war zones and your research will help reduce these costs by reducing the volume of materials needed.

You will seek to develop fast build concrete structures in which conventional steel rebar are replaced with high-strength steel cables. Your research will be pioneering because very little is known about the behaviour of concrete reinforced in this way. You will understand the underlying mechanics through your laboratory tests. Once developed, you will test your walls using high explosives on a blast range.

In addition you will investigate the potential for replacing conventional formwork with a fabric system which will remain in-situ once cast. This, in conjunction with cable reinforcement, will reduce the very high cost of airlifting materials to hostile regions. The fabric system will also help to catch fragments of concrete undergoing ballistic attack.

The technology you pioneer will save lives and protect people in dangerous places, as well as consolidating the UK’s standing in force protection engineering. The standard EPSRC scholarship applies, which begins at £14,296 in year one, increasing annually. Tuition fees are also funded by the EPSRC, although full payment of fees and stipend is dependent eligibility, see

Ideally the successful candidate will be enthusiastic, have a first class degree (or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University) in a BEng or MEng degree in Civil Engineering and have an interest in a career in Structural Engineering.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Michael Byfield, Infrastructure research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 7664.

Job Description and Person Specification


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