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Find out about the research we do in Structural Integrity

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Structural Integrity PhD

PhD topics

Find a supervisor

Start date

January

October

Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time

Fees

2020/21

International £19,280

UK / EU £4,407

Entry requirements

2:1

MPhil option available
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Research profile

Brunel University London has partnered with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre to provide an opportunity for students to undertake in-depth research in combination with the industrial experience of TWI across the varied disciplines essential to structural integrity. 

Considering the expertise and track record of both Brunel and NSIRC-based staff, the following areas have been identified as the main research strengths within the wider field of Structural Integrity: 

  • Dynamic response of materials and structures (modelling, experimental characterisation and design/optimisation for composites and metals); 
  • Structural health monitoring based on ultrasound wave propagation and acoustic emissions in solids (modelling, experimental validation, signal processing and sensors); 
  • 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)
  • Fluid-structure interaction (unboned flexible risers)
  • Manufacturing (e.g. sheet metal forming, bulk-forming, casting, extrusion, 3D printing).

A key aim of the PhD programme is to supply a stream of industry-ready, world-class engineers and scientists in structural integrity disciplines such as fail-safe design, corrosion control, structural health monitoring, ageing asset management and fitness for service. 

Industry linked location

The programme is delivered at the NSIRC facilities based in Granta Park, Cambridge. A proportion of the research activities may take place out in the field (external sites) including industrial client sites depending on the details of the particular project. However, students are based at NSIRC at least 90 per cent of the time, where they are able to take advantage of their partner university resources such as the virtual learning environment, library and academic support. You are expected to live in the Cambridge area for the duration of your studies and make use of the shuttle bus to Granta Park.

Partnerships
In structural integrity, we have well-established collaboration with a number of industrial partners who have supported a range of fundamental and applied PhD research projects. Our partners include:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • AWE PLC
  • British Council
  • Caterpillar Inc
  • Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK
  • Constellium France SAS
  • DSTL Commercial Services
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • European Commission
  • European Space Agency
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Intel Corporation USA
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Korea Institute of Industrial Technology
  • mLED Limited
  • National Aerospace Technology Programme
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • Power OLEDs Ltd
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council
  • Technology Strategy Board
  • The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers Alias Wire Workers
  • TWI Limited

Equipment and Lab Facilities

Students at NSIRC conduct their research using some of the world's most advanced analysis and testing technologies. NSIRC houses £20 million of state-of-the-art equipment, acquired using investment from BIS and HEFCE.

This equipment ensures that NSIRC has world-leading capabilities, is best placed to meet its research commitments, and is able to address the research topics specified by the industrial partners. It includes:

  • Metallic and polymeric materials analysis and characterisation equipment.
  • Advanced testing equipment to measure fracture, fatigue, creep and corrosion performance.
  • High-pressure testing equipment for large scale tests in pipes and vessels.
  • Equipment for testing in H 2 S, CO 2 and other aggressive environments.
  • Re-configurable, large scale facilities for specialised component/structure testing.
  • Systems and software for process simulation, modelling of structural performance and lifetime prediction.
  • Residual stress measurement equipment.
  • A range of NDT equipment for defect detection and procedure development.
  • Remote and intelligent sensors and data analysis tools for condition monitoring applications.
  • Selected welding/coating and thermal cycle simulation equipment for characterisation, development and proving of high integrity processes.
  • Specific/bespoke equipment to address defined areas of research focus of the NSIRC founder sponsors.
  • Dimensional measurement equipment.
  • Equipment for test piece preparation (cutting, welding, machining etc.)

Accreditation

The degree is accredited by The Welding Institute as further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Students working on projects in the field of non-destructive testing will also be able to acquire membership of BINDT (British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing).

Find out about the exciting research we do in this area. Browse profiles of our experts, discover the research groups and their inspirational research activities you too could be part of. We’ve also made available extensive reading materials published by our academics and PhD students.  

Learn more about research in this area.

 

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.

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Research journey

This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in October. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time, starting in April.

A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Research degrees evolve in different ways according to discipline. Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we can also provide you with some ideas. Search for PhD topics for your chosen field of research.

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Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

Find our more: Study environment for research students

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.

The Library services boast:

  • state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research
  • publication and grant database
  • one of the largest UK's full text repository
  • an integrated data management system
  • analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
  • Open Access centrally managed fund

Find out more: Brunel Library

Access to TWI Library

  • TWI’s library comprises ~35,000 items on all aspects of materials joining and performance and has been in operation for nearly 100 years.
  • TWI also produces the Weldasearch literature database, containing ~250,000 abstracts of articles on all aspects of joining and structural performance.
  • All library material is available to students to read in the library. 
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Careers and your future

Tailored careers support is offered to all our current PhD students and for up to 3 years after you complete your research at Brunel. We help you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research. Our careers provision includes online advice, one to one consultations and a range of events and workshops.

In addition, where available, you may be able to undertake some paid work as we recognise that teaching and learning support duties represent an important professional and career development opportunity.

Find out more.

Almost all our successful PhD students get one or more job offers before completing their PhD studies. In structural integrity, we have well-established collaboration with a number of industrial partners from the following sectors automotive, aerospace, energy, transport, oil and gas and defence. These include Rolls Royce, Airbus, Augusta Westland, Eurocopter, Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Mercedes Petronas F1, McLaren F1, Williams F1, Network Rail, AWE, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, BP, Shell, Lloyds Register, Zentech, Dunlop Oil and Marine, and TWI.

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UK entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1). 

An interview may be required as part of the admissions process, and if so it would be conducted by one of the academic staff members remotely via Skype, phone or other means. 

Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.  

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EU and International entry requirements

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 92 (min 20 in all)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding

2020/21 entry

International

£19,280 full-time

£9,640 part-time

UK / EU

£4,407 full-time

£2,203 part-time

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

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. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU 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%.