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A digital twin-based analysis framework for structural health monitoring of existing masonry structures

In recent decades, structures have been experiencing increased severity in external actions caused by natural and anthropogenic hazards (earthquakes, floods and fire) due to climate change and global warming. According to United Nations’ 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects, the world’s population living in urban areas is expected to increase up to 68%. The prospect of a dramatic increase in urbanization is expected to intensify the demand for new structures and simultaneously the strain on existing infrastructures. To effectively intervene on resilience and robustness of existing structures, it is necessary to define their state of health and consider the effect that any improvements have from a global perspective.

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is considered a promising solution for the condition assessment of existing structures. a wide range of techniques which enable timely inspection and maintenance, resulting in enhanced serviceability and a longer structural life cycle. The scientific community has been actively pursuing novel approaches by either developing sensing construction materials or embedding sensing units into them to detect a vast array of structural features, including stress/strain and vibration.

The project focuses on the development of a digital twin-based analysis framework for Structural Health Monitoring of existing masonry structures coupling sensor readings with advanced numerical modelling. The project offers a unique opportunity to carry out a high-quality research project in collaboration with several recognized universities. The project will comprise experimental laboratory tests to enable the development of the digital-twin framework.


  • State-of-the-art review and future research directions for FRP-to-masonry bond research: Test methods and techniques for extraction of bond-slip behaviour, J. Vaculik, P. Visintin, N.G. Burton, M.C. Griffith, R. Seracino, Construction and Building Materials, Volume 183, 2018.
  • State-of-the-art on strengthening of masonry structures with textile reinforced mortar (TRM), L. A. S. Kouris, T. C. Triantafillou, Construction and Building Materials, Volume 188, 2018.
  • Effectiveness of Textile Reinforced Mortar (TRM) materials for the repair of full-scale timbrel masonry cross vaults, E. Bertolesi, B.Torres, J. M. Adam, P. A. Calderón, J. J. Moragues, Engineering Structures, Volume 220, 2020.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.