PhD Studentship: Estimating the Stiffness and Mass Contribution of Soil in Dynamic Soil-pile Interaction for Offshore Structures
University of Nottingham Department of Engineering
United Kingdom

Location: UK Other

Application details


The position is available to start in October, December, February, April or July (subject to date of application)

Duration: 3 years

Closing date: open until filled

Project description

Offshore wind turbines are dynamically sensitive systems, with the potential for resonance between the rotational frequencies of the blades, the frequency of waves in the ocean and the natural frequency of the structure. This resonance can cause fatigue in the system and is best avoided. Understanding the dynamic soil-structure interaction is therefore paramount to safe, reliable design of these systems.


This project aims to:

Expand a recently developed finite-element model updating approach capable of estimating the soil mass and stiffness acting in the dynamic motion of pile foundations. The existing approach can estimate the soil stiffness by applying a weighting factor to a postulated soil-stiffness with depth, and updating this to match recorded data. The project aims to expand this method to enable depth-dependant stiffness updating to obtain a better estimation of the acting soil stiffness. Since many existing approaches rely on empirical equations to specify soil stiffness, the approach is urgently needed.
Benchmark/calibrate the developed approach against data from experimental testing to be completed at Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics (NCG).
Expand the approach to other types of foundations including gravity base, suction caissons, and other soil-structure systems.



Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a 1st class or 2.1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in Civil Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or a related subject. A relevant Masters degree in these areas would be advantageous.


If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English Language requirements.


Students with experience or a willingness to learn software such as MATLAB and Python are encouraged to apply. Computer programming skills is an advantage.

Due to funding restrictions this position is only available for UK or EU candidates.


Eligible for Home/EU candidates. This project will include the payment of tuition fees as well as a stipend equivalent to RCUK rates (£15,009 p.a. tax free for 2019/20) awarded to the suitable candidate.


How to apply

Informal contact with Dr. Luke J Prendergast ( before submitting an online application. Please send a cover letter and a copy of your CV with your up-to-date relevant experience.

Online application can be made via Please quote the studentship reference and Dr. Luke J Prendergast.

Contact details

Name: Dr. Luke J Prendergast


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


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