PhD Scholarship in Geotechnics at University College Dublin 

Low-Field NMR Monitoring of Hydro-Thermo-Mechanical Processes in Fine Sediments

Research project:  Pore characterization advances our understanding of the hydro-thermo-mechanical behaviour of fine sediments, which are relevant to many geotechnical infrastructures, e.g., offshore foundations, embankment dams, and energy piles. Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR non-destructively probes the pore space of wet soils using saturating water molecules and reveals both water content and pore size distribution without disturbing ongoing processes.

The project involves developing and implementing low-field NMR sensors to characterize the hydro-thermo-mechanical processes in fine sediments. The research will contribute to one or multiple of the following areas: (i) moisture transfer during drying and infiltration; (ii) desiccation crack formation; (iii) cyclic behaviour of soil-structure interface; and (iv) freezing-and-thawing processes. The successful candidate will work closely with Electrical Engineering, Geophysics and Soil Sciences.

Supervisors: Dr Budi Zhao, Dr Mike Long (Co-supervisor)

Applicant Requirements: We seek a highly enthusiastic PhD candidate who can independently plan and conduct the research project. Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree in geotechnical engineering, civil engineering or other relevant fields such as mechanical engineering or physics. Excellent written, oral communication skills and a high level of competence in the English language are essential.

Stipend & fees: The successful candidate will receive a stipend of €18,000 per annum and the fully-funded tuition fees for EU/non-EU applicants. The position is funded for four years – subject to satisfactory progress.

Application procedure: Applicants should submit their CV, transcript, and contact details of two academic referees as a single .pdf document to budi.zhao@ucd.ie.

Application deadline: 15th March 2022

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