Centre Internacional de Metodes Numerics en la Enginyeria
Title of the PhD project: Triggering and propagation of liquefaction in brittle geotechnical materials. Fundamentals and applications.
Liquefaction of brittle geotechnical materials (such as hydraulic fills, mine tailings, landfills and sensitive or quick clays) causes catastrophic failures leading to major environmental disasters, crippling economic disruption and, often, losses of human life. Examples are the failure of Prat quay in Barcelona Port, the failure of Aznalcóllar dam or the failure of Brumadinho dam in Brazil where 270 people lost their lives. The group has developed in recent years numerical methods to deal with this phenomenon and it is expected that a PhD project would make a major contribution to the ongoing research.
The work would include the following aspects: i) further development of a constitutive law for simulating liquefaction incorporating essential features such as anisotropy and rate dependence, ii) an examination of the fundamentals of the phenomenon from a microstructural perspective, using DEM, iii) the development of a numerical method to simulate the propagation dynamics of the liquefaction from a source zone throughout a soil mass, iv) incorporation of interface effects to explore liquefaction during installation of onshore and offshore foundations for energy structures, v) application to selected key cases. A collaboration with Queens’ University (Kingston, Canada) is envisaged to have access to high-quality large-scale model tests of liquefaction propagation. The outcome would be a simulation tool able to predict the potential for liquefaction-driven failures and to assist in the design of preventive measures in a wide range of engineering problems. In this way it would contribute to the resilience of transport infrastructures and networks, the prevention of environmental disasters in the territory, to securing the supply of critical raw materials for the green economy transition and to optimizing new energy structures wind turbines), onshore and offshore.
The functions assigned to the candidate will be:
- Complete a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – Barcelona Tech. The candidate is expected to complete the PhD thesis in a maximum of three years.
- Collaborate with various research groups within CIMNE and worldwide.
- To publish a minimum of two papers in high-impact international journals during the PhD period, as author or co-author.
- Carry out quality research, training and management.
- Participate on the dissemination and outreach activities associated with the project.
- Participate in international conferences presenting her/his work.
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