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SPIN ESR 4.2: Nonlinear seismology meets structural health monitoring

Host institution: University of Hamburg (UHH) drawing


main supervisor: Céline Hadziioannou (University of Hamburg, D)
co-supervisors: Andrew Curtis (University of Edinburgh, UK)
  Ernst Niederleithinger (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, BAM, D)

Application deadline: applications closed Starting date: June 1st 2021 – October 1st, 2021

General information

This PhD position is one of the 15 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) positions within the SPIN project. SPIN is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA).

SPIN will focus on training 15 PhD candidates in emerging measurement technologies in seismology. We will research the design of monitoring systems for precursory changes in material properties, all while optimizing observation strategies. The unique interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral network will enable PhDs to gain international expertise at excellent research institutions, with a meaningful exposure of each PhD to other disciplines and sectors, thus going far beyond the education at a single PhD programme.

Project description

Many bridges, dams, buildings and other structures in Europe have reached an age where deterioration and limited load capacity become a serious problem. Methods of nondestructive testing (NDT) and structural health monitoring (SHM) are important to assess the status and capacity of structures.
In this PhD project, we transfer knowledge between civil engineering and seismology. Our goal is to evaluate and monitor changes of mechanical properties of materials, which are associated with long-term damage development in civil structures. To do this, we will apply seismic wavefield-based techniques to detect and quantify changes in propagation velocity and scattering properties. We will investigate the optimal way to measure self-healing timescales after reversible damage is induced on a concrete test structure.
In parallel, we will assess the sensitivity of velocity changes and of healing timescales to environmental conditions (temperature, pore fluid content, etc). Through this, we investigate whether it is possible to distiguish these effects from the underlying, long-term changes in internal strength of the structure.
This part of the project will benefit from close interactions with other projects in the SPIN network, as well as with other PhD candidates within SPIN, who will evaluate array sensitivity towards transient changes.

Throughout the investigations described above, we will evaluate which benefits to the monitoring methods can be provided by the use of novel sensors (e.g. rotational, strain/DAS). We will design and perform experiments on concrete test structures at BAM (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Berlin), in close collaboration with the scientists there. Using an optimized sensor deployment based on the work by a different PhD candidate, the test structure, will be instrumented with complementary sensors and both active and passive measurements will be performed.
The long-term goal of this project is to develop seismic wavefield-based methodologies for detecting a monitoring damage and deterioration of dams, wind turbines, high-rise buildings, and other structures which are constantly under stress.