The increased interest in structural integrity (SI) and its associated societal importance and potential for significant economic benefits combined with Brunel’s existing capabilities in the relevant fields are key motivators for the Structural Integrity Research Theme. Structural Integrity (SI) can be defined as the science and engineering relating to the safe and reliable life/life cycle of structures. The field of structural integrity is primarily driven by social demands for safety, reliability, reduction of impact on the environment and greater economic efficiency in terms of total life cycle cost. This crucial engineering area, of relevance to industry, public services and the public at large, is of particular importance to key sectors such as oil and gas, aerospace, transport, construction, and alternative energy.
Research into structural integrity provides the data, models and tools necessary for performing statistically reliable life prediction.Our structural integrity research focuses on design of new and assessment of existing real world materials and structures characterised by design, manufacture and maintenance imperfections.
Our research capabilities
Considering the expertise and track record of both NSIRC- and Brunel-based staff, the following research areas are of specific interest:
- Dynamic response of materials and structures (modelling, experimental characterisation and design/optimisation for composites and metals);
- Steel, concrete and hybrid structures (material design, manufacturing, modelling and experimental characterisation);
- Fatigue and fracture (modelling, experimental characterisation);
- Extreme loading (e.g. fire, earthquake, blast and progressive collapse)
- Structural health monitoring based on ultrasound wave propagation and acoustic emissions in solids (modelling, experimental validation, signal processing and sensors);
- Fluid structure interaction (unboned flexible risers)
- Manufacturing (e.g. sheet metal forming, bulk forming, casting, extrusion, 3D printing).
The cutting-edge fundamental research, in the above stated areas, will underpin the safe operation of products, structures and manufacturing processes b) will develop innovative, fit for- purpose technologies and design rules.
These research areas are the focus of our experimental and modelling activities. Modern structures are routinely designed using high fidelity numerical models where the loads and structural response over the entire life cycle of a structure are simulated. The modelling research encompasses the development of methods for spatial discretisation, e.g. finite element, boundary element and smooth particle hydrodynamics methods, as well as constitutive models for materials which include damage and failure. This includes the probabilistic finite element method which allows for uncertainty quantification, uncertainty propagation, assessment of risk and interactions.