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EPSRC Industrial PhD Scholarship

Atomistically Informed Fatigue Crack Growth Models

School of Engineering, University of Warwick
EPSRC Industrial CASE award with TWI

Duration: 4 years

The project:
The demanding conditions experienced by welded structures create significant challenges for design and assessment. Due to their reliance on empirical criteria, existing fracture mechanics assessment codes and standards may lead to either over-conservative assessments or the crack tip conditions may be underestimated depending on the nature of the case analysed. The emphasis in this project will be on obtaining more accurate fracture mechanics analyses of fatigue processes through the direct modelling of crack propagation at the atomic scale.

The project is a partnership between Warwick Centre for Predictive Modelling ( and TWI (The Welding Institute, The Warwick supervisor is Dr James Kermode ( from the School of Engineering and the TWI supervisor is Dr Tyler London. The student will split their time between Warwick and TWI, where they would be located in the National Structural Integrity Research Centre a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by TWI.

Accurate atomistic modelling of chemomechanical processes that involve breaking of chemical bonds driven by long range stress requires a multiscale approach such as the Learn on the Fly (LOTF) scheme [1]. The applicability of this approach has recently been extended to rare events [2] and to metallic systems [3], bringing processes relevant to fracture and fatigue in metals in reach for the first time. In this project atomistic models of this kind will be used to inform improved continuum descriptions based on the Paris law [4] as a function of chemical environment (e.g. H concentration) and other micromechanical mechanisms.

[1] J. R. Kermode, T. Albaret, D. Sherman, N. Bernstein, P. Gumbsch, M. C. Payne, G. Csányi, and A. De Vita, Nature 455, 1224 (2008)

[2] J. R. Kermode, A. Gleizer, G. Kovel, L. Pastewka, G. Csányi, D. Sherman, and A. De Vita, Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 135501 (2015).

[3] F. Bianchini, J. R. Kermode, and A. De Vita, Modell. Simul. Mater. Sci. Eng. 24, 045012 (2016).

[4] T. London, S. D. Smith, and E. Eren, in ASME 2014 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference (American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2014)

Eligibility: This project is only open to UK/EU applicants due to funding restrictions. An honours or masters degree at 1st or 2:1 level in Physical Sciences or Engineering is required. Experience of computational materials modelling at the atomic scale would be an advantage. The start date is flexible between October 2017 and April 2018.

Funding: The annual stipend will be £16.085 (tax free), for 4 years, with all tuition fees paid. Industrial CASE award for fees and stipend and attracting an enhanced maintenance stipend of £16,085 in the first year, rising to £17,052 in the final year.

How to Apply: To be considered for this post you must submit your expression of interest to the form and upload your CV.

Note: If you are invited to make a formal application you will be required to fulfil the University of Warwick entry requirements, details of this can be found at