Award details

Modelling modern engineering structures under extreme operational conditions, Engineering – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3154

About the award


Dr Julian Mauricio Londono Monsalve, University of Exeter


Modern engineering structures increasingly behave in a nonlinear manner as their performance boundary is being radically extended. Examples of these systems include composite aircrafts such as the Airbus 350 and Boeing 787, in-orbit satellites, long-span bridges, wind turbines and high-performance vehicles. As a result, the prediction of the dynamic response of nonlinear systems under extreme loading is becoming fundamental to a large range of engineering problems and is a key element in the development of future engineering systems. Traditionally, experimental work and vibration-based procedures are used to validate the numerical models of most strategically important engineering structures. However, it still remains unclear how to extend the current experimental procedures to properly deal with systems that strongly behave nonlinearly.

This project will focus primarily on nonlinear structural dynamics and will look forward to investigate new procedures to analyse, model and test modern engineering system exhibiting nonlinear behaviour. The ultimate goal will be to develop a novel procedure capable of assessing and delivering accurate dynamical models of tomorrow’s highly-efficient nonlinear structures based on experimentally measured data. A combination of suitable experimental strategies, numerical modelling, the use of data-driven methodologies and statistical learning will be at the heart of this developments.

The successful applicant will be embedded in a thriving research environment, which includes the Vibration Engineering Section (VES) at University of Exeter. VES has extensive laboratory and field testing experimental facilities, which have been significantly upgraded in the last three years through extensive investment by the University. This includes a range of actuators, sensors and data acquisition and control systems that are suitable for use in this research project. In addition, VES has state-of-the-art analytical facilities, including FE codes, numerical analysis and control simulation.

We are looking for highly motivated applicants that ideally will have a background in structural engineering, preferably with strong skills in dynamics, numerical modelling and coding.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2018.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First Class or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of Engineering (e.g., Mechanical, Civil, Aerospace, Mechatronics). Applicants with strong skills in dynamics, numerical modelling and coding are particularly encouraged to apply. Hands-on experience or familiarity with nonlinear dynamics, statistical learning approaches and/or experimental testing (like vibration testing) is desirable.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”. 

• CV
• A cover letter (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• 2 references from referees familiar with your academic work (if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to If we don't receive your references, we will not request them unless you have been shortlisted)
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English


Application deadline:29th June 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:£14,777 for 3.5 yrs
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Support Office +44 (0)1392 722730/5150