Research Studentship in Dislocation Dynamics Modelling of Cracks

3.5-year D.Phil. studentship

Project title: Dislocation Dynamics Modelling of Cracks

Supervisor:  Dr A Cicirello and Professsor D A Hills

This studentship is part of a joint UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Rolls-Royce plc funded project on ''Advanced Propulsion Systems'' being jointly undertaken by the Universities of Oxford, Nottingham, and Imperial College, London.

As part of this project we wish to develop a much deeper understanding of elastic contact problems, in the presence of friction, where dynamic loading is present.  At the moment it is not clear whether inertia forces generally play an important part in establishing the slip zones present in contacts, or whether we may safely neglect the very complicated inertia patterns established locally around the slip region.  To do this we propose to develop a contact model in which slip is represented by the presence of glide dislocations acting as strain nuclei.  This has already been done when the contact is loaded quasi-statically, and here we propose to extend the solutions to cases where the loading is sufficiently rapidly applied for body forces associated with inertia to be too large to be neglected.  Use will be made of the recently discovered solution for a dislocation travelling through an infinite plane with finite velocity.

The student will focus on the development of advanced models for simulating the evolution frictional slip under dynamic conditions, such as those found in a gas turbine, and to develop experimental strategies to train and validate such models.  S/he will be a member of the Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering group and will be supervised by Dr Cicirello and Professor Hills. 


This studentship is open to all students. UK/EU students are eligible for a full award (fees plus stipend). Overseas students are eligible for a stipend and fees at Home/EU level. In exceptional circumstances, an Overseas student may be eligible for fees at the Overseas fee rate for the course.

Award Value

University tuition fees are covered at the level set for UK/EU students, as are Oxford college fees (c. £7,432 in total p.a.). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £14,553 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years.

Candidate Requirements

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

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics or Mathematics;
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills;
  • A strong background in applied mechanics;
  • Ability to program in Matlab (or Mathematica) 

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience in models of contacts;
  • Experience in static or dynamic testing
  • Experience of using Abaqus or similar finite element programmes

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Dr Alice Cicirello (

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria.  Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote 18ENGIN_11DAH_2 in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline:  noon on 19 January 2018 

Start date: October 2018