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PhD Studentship: Exploration of novel high strain rate impact tests for composites based on ultra-high speed photomechanics, University of Southampton, UK

In many areas of engineering, materials suffer deformation at high rates. This is the case when structures undergo impact, crash, blast, etc. Therefore, it is essential for design engineers to have reliable mechanical models to predict the behaviour of the materials in such applications. This is enhanced by the spectacular progress in numerical simulation which now enables to perform detailed computations of very complex situations. However, robust experimental identification of refined high strain rate deformation models is lagging behind and hinders the delivery of the full potential of numerical simulations.

The scientific objective of this project is to explore the development of novel high strain rate mechanical tests in order to overcome the strong limitations of the current techniques relying on impact force measurement, such as the Split Hopkinson Pressure or Kolsky bar. The underpinning novelty here is to exploit the inertial effects developed in high strain rate load. This is possible through the use of state-of-the-art ultra-high speed (UHS) imaging (camera with submicrosecond interframe time) combined with image processing (like digital image correlation) and inverse identification (like the Virtual Fields Method, VFM).

This project will look at developing this methodology to identify a damage model for fibre reinforced polymeric matrix composites. This is part of a larger effort within the framework of an EPSRC Fellowship programme http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/L026910/1. The candidate will join a team of half a dozen researchers working on this topic and will benefit from excellent local expertise on UHS full-field deformation measurements and the VFM. This project is both numerical and experimental and of a very exploratory nature. This requires candidates with curiosity and enthusiasm to work at the cutting edge of the current knowledge in this area.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Fabrice Pierron, Engineering Materials research group, Email: f.pierron@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2891.
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