It can be hard to model how a structure will vibrate when it has many components. Computer programmes can take into consideration the vibration resonance, but there are many external factors that make it difficult to combine into a realistic simulation.

It’s important that we look into the best practice to mitigate this and enhance current software to create as realistic models as possible.

The research will involve experimental and computational studies to investigate how best to model structures built-up from components. The problem with vibration is the danger of resonance. Small forces may cause large amplitudes of vibration if resonant conditions occur.

We will look in-depth at the resonance between the components and the connections between them.

Our research will take place in dedicated and fully equipped research laboratories and with computer facilities to effectively complete the research with technician and workshop staff support.

Frictional interfaces hold structures together but their dynamics cannot be predicted. Examples of frictional interfaces are connections between components, bolted joints, cables and shafts.

Our understanding is so poor that basic experiments are needed to fully appreciate how a joint behaves. Previous work has identified that in a joint there is a static contact patch which is then distorted during dynamic motion. Understanding the dimensions of this contact patch and the forces and motions in the frictional interface is the next stage.

This PhD will focus on understanding static and dynamic contact patches and developing models. The overall objective is to develop suitable models that can be used in computer simulation. Currently no such models are available.

It is suitable either for students interested in fundamental research or for students who wish to work on model development. You should have a good understanding of dynamics and stress.

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) provide unique educational opportunities to the Defence and Security sectors of both public and private sector organisations.

Based at the UK Defence Academy at Shrivenham in Oxfordshire and at Cranfield University Bedfordshire, CDS is the academic provider to the UK Ministry of Defence for postgraduate education at the Defence Academy, training in engineering, science, acquisition, management and leadership.

At a glance

  • Application deadline20 Jan 2023
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start dateAs soon as possible
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberCDS047


Dr Hugh Goyder

Entry requirements

Applicants should have standard academic entry requirements for the University. (First or Second class honours in related area)


This is a fully funded studentship. The cost of the PhD programme, including tuition fees, will be met jointly by AWE and Cranfield University. The student will receive the standard EPSRC bursary (approximately £15000 per annum with no tax to pay). The PhD is expected to last three years.

Applicants are expected to have a good degree in engineering.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form. Please quote the following title and reference number: PhD in "Vibration of Structures" with the reference number CDS047. In addition to the application form, please attach a covering or motivational letter as well as a CV.

For further information contact us today:
CDS Admissions office
T: +44 (0)1793 785220