Catastrophic Rock and Concrete Brittle Failures

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Professor David Williamsd.williams@uq.edu.au

A PhD position is available as part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project titled “Catastrophic Rock and Concrete Brittle Failures”. The overall aim of this ARC DP project is to develop a new paradigm of monitoring, prediction and prevention of dangerous skin rock burst-type failures. A unique experimental methodology, measurements and analytical and numerical models will be employed to provide a better understanding of the fundamental processes in spalling-like fracturing in geo-like materials. We seek to develop methods of reducing the risk of dangerous rock and concrete failures from tensile fractures driven by high compressive stresses, either natural (on the walls of an opening) or induced on the concrete/rock surface by fires. The PhD project will focus on either: (i) rock and concrete brittle failures under thermal and polyaxial stresses, or (ii) the development of practical procedures during the site characterisation and laboratory investigation phases to assess whether spalling should be anticipated during construction or the life-time of the project. If spalling is expected, the project provides design procedures to identify the (lateral and radial) extent of the spalled zone for risk assessment purposes. The successful applicant will work as a team with researchers from UQ GEC within the School of Civil Engineering, Rock Mechanics Group at the University of Western Australia, and the Geoscience Laboratory at the University of Alberta (Canada).

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of laboratory techniques for fracture mechanics and geomaterials testing would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of civil geotechnical engineering, structural or mining engineering or a closely related area and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of in high-speed photography, digital image correlation or acoustic emission monitoring techniques is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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