Characterisation and Modelling of Veined Rocks: Integrity, Deformation, and Fluid Flow


The Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Manchester is looking for a highly motivated student to undertake an exciting PhD project on fractured/veined rocks. The student will work in parallel with our ongoing EPSRC-funded INFORM project, where we aim to understand the impact of fracture heterogeneity on the mechanical behaviour of rocks.

This PhD project will increase confidence in the design, construction, and operation of a geological disposal facility (GDF), by integrating X-ray CT analysis and laboratory experiments to understand the influence of mineralised fractures (veins) on the integrity, deformation, and fluid flow behaviour of veined rocks that are often ignored or less researched so far. The student will characterise a range of crystalline and clay formations with veins at the nm scale and develop a bespoke hydrothermal fluid experiment to understand vein-forming mechanisms under subsurface conditions and evaluate its implications on the mechanical deformation of veined rocks. The outcome of this project will underpin the ongoing GDF programme, to isolate radioactive wastes that are incompatible with surface disposal permanently in the subsurface. Nuclear power is low-carbon energy. It now provides about 10% of the world’s electricity, contributing enormously to global Net Zero emissions. One main disadvantage of nuclear power is that its generation process produces radioactive waste that can remain hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years.

The student will be provided full training on Crystal-CT imaging and analysis and will have access to the UK National X-ray Computed Tomography Facility (University of Manchester – National X-ray Computed Tomography ( at the University of Manchester. The student will also get access to the world-leading rock deformation lab at Manchester ( The student will also have opportunities to engage with our excellent project partners from NWS, GFZ, Jacobs, Northeastern University, and our INFORM research team members.


The successful candidates should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2.1 honours degree and a master’s degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant science/engineering discipline (civil, mining, geotechnics, earth sciences, etc.). A track record of international publications as the first author can be a plus to this role.


This PhD position is fully funded by the University of Manchester (home student fee only). We also welcome enquiries from exceptional international students but need to find ways to cover the fee difference. Apart from this, we also welcome CSC-funded students to join the research team.

Application Deadline: Friday, 5 Jan 2024 (expected start date: 1 April or 1 Sept 2024)

If you are interested, please get in touch with Dr Junlong Shang (, with a CV and a supporting statement by the deadline.

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