Research Studentship in Computational Modelling of Plastic Deformation and Fracture in Polycrystalline Materials

3.5-year D.Phil studentship, available from October 2016 (subject to eligibility requirements below).


Research Area

The studentship is part of a project on “Cracking in Highly Anisotropic Orthorhombic Polycrystalline Materials” being jointly undertaken by the Departments of Engineering Science (Prof Alan Cocks) and the Department of Materials (Prof James Marrow) at the University of Oxford and funded by AWE.

The objective of the project is to develop computational models of twinning and slip within each grain of a polycrystalline material and how this influences the initiation of cracks and their subsequent propagation, leading to failure of a component. The computational models will be developed within a Finite Element (FE) framework using the commercial finite element package ABAQUS.  Plastic deformation by slip and twinning will be modelled within each individual grain, taking into account the crystallographic orientation of each grain and the anisotropy of the deformation processes. Cohesive zone models will be developed to model twinning, shear band formation and cracking.  The models will be guided by and validated against experimental studies on representative material systems.

 The student will focus on the development of the computational models. S/he will be a member of the Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering Research Group in the Department of Engineering Science and will be supervised by Prof Alan Cocks. Further information on the group can be found at


Award Value

The studentship covers University and College fees at the level set for UK students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £15,896 p.a. for the first year, increasing to £16,538 in the final year.


This studentship is only available to UK nationals.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science;
  • Experience in computer modelling using the Finite Element method;
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills;

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  •  Ability to program in Fortran;
  •  Ability to program in Matlab;


Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees


NOTE: Candidates are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria available at and a full graduate application must be made at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Your studentship application will not be considered until you have submitted a graduate application too. Further details about making a graduate application are available at

Please quote AWE_ACFC in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Professor Alan Cocks ( Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. 

Application deadline:  12 noon on Friday 29th July 2016