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PhD in the Physics of Silicaceous Materials

This job is no longer available

University of Cambridge
08 June 2012
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Biology, Physics

Further information

PhD in the Physics of Silicaceous Materials under Extreme Conditions Department of Physics Limit of tenure: three years

Applications are sought for a fully-funded three year PhD studentship focussing on the physics of natural silicaceous materials. The position will be held in the SMF Fracture and Shock Physics group at the Cavendish Laboratory (Dept. of Physics), University of Cambridge, to start in October 2012.

Silicaceous materials literally form the structure of the modern world, and are widely used in their natural state to form defensive structures. The aim of this experimental research project is to provide a fundamental physics-based understanding of the high-rate mechanical (shock) and physical properties of geological materials in their basic state. In particular, it will include studying the behaviour of materials such as sands, soils, silts and gravels, with the overall aim being to determine the way in which these can be best used to provide ballistic resistance. The programme will encompass a number of themes, and is likely to include:
- designing novel approaches to study the shock response of a variety of geological materials and performing plate impact experiments
- developing new techniques for, and performing high-speed flash radiographic measurements of ballistic penetration
- applying state-of-the-art interferometric diagnostics (such as laser heterodyne velocimetry) to follow material response
- performing digital image cross correlation (DICC) analysis to reconstruct material flow
- linking experimental observations with modelling approaches and performing data mining of existing research databases, to guide programme development and modelling

Long term aims are to provide an understanding of the fundamental physics required to model these systems, and using such knowledge to suggest techniques capable of improving defensive performance in the field.
Similarly, we anticipate these efforts supporting larger scale 'smart' trials of emerging approaches.

The project will form an important part of a longstanding industrial collaboration, and will benefit greatly from close interaction with the industrial partner and several other Universities within a larger consortium. More generally, the SMF Fracture & Shock Physics Group forms a close community with a long heritage of performing world class experiments in this area, as described in more detail on our website:

The successful student will hold a Masters degree in Physics, Materials Science, Engineering or a related subject. Specialist prior knowledge is welcome but not necessary and we anticipate applicants being 2012 graduates who will be new to the area. Application is limited to UK and EU nationals.

Applications should be made through the University of Cambridge online application system by clicking on the 'Apply Now' button and should be received as soon as possible, or by 15th June 2012 at the latest.

For further informal enquiries, please contact Dr. Andrew Jardine (

Quote Reference: KA16381, Closing Date: 15 June 2012.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

University of Cambridge

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