PhD Studentship in Hydrant Dynamics for Acoustic Leak Detection University of Southampton, Dynamics Group United Kingdom

PhD Studentship: Hydrant Dynamics for Acoustic Leak Detection


Dynamics Group


Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date: Wednesday 20 December 2017

Reference: ISVR-DYN-395

Leakage from pipes is a major issue in the water industry, being an issue, not only in environmental terms, because of wasting an important natural resource, but also in economic and health terms, from both an environmental and cost perspective. UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) have identified leakage as one of their strategic priorities and have recently set up the Zero Leakage 2050 initiative, aiming to address the question “How will we achieve zero leakage in a sustainable way by 2050 ?”

The UK water companies delivered major reductions in leakage levels over the period 1995 to 2005. However the rate of reduction has slowed greatly over the past 10 years, and over the UK as a whole 22% of water produced is still lost through leakage; recent research has shown that many new polyethylene networks are responsible for a significant proportion of leakage.

Acoustic methods predominate in the armoury of available leak detection methods. However, their effectiveness is restricted for plastic pipes due to the high attenuation of the acoustic signals. One of the reasons for this is that much of the acoustic signal can be “lost” when travelling from the pipe to the detection sensor located (usually) on a hydrant. Recent measurements suggest that a resonance of the pipe system at the points where the sensors are attached (usually a hydrant), can have a profound effect on the bandwidth of the measured leak noise.

The aim of this project is to investigate hydrant dynamics, so that new guidelines can be given for sensor numbers, type and positioning and hydrant design. In particular the following will be addressed

•Theoretical modelling of vibrational wave propagation in hydrants (analytical and numerical)

•Laboratory measurements on simplified hydrants

•Laboratory and field measurements on real hydrants

The project will be a balance of theoretical and experimental work, with some of the experimental work being undertaken at outdoor test sites in the UK, provided by the industrial partner; it would suit a candidate with both strong analytical/numerical skills and an enthusiasm for experimental measurements. The successful candidate will be working within the Dynamics Group within the ISVR but will also be associated with the Mapping the Underworld programme ( , which includes multi-disciplinary researchers from a number of UK universities.


A full UK driving licence would be useful but not essential.


If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Jen Muggleton, Dynamics research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 7624.


To apply, please use the following link and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


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