Research Fellow in Masonry Arch Bridges

Leeds, United Kingdom
£33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Jan 01, 2020
End of advertisement period
Jan 26, 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for a new challenge? Do you have expertise in experimental structural engineering, especially in the testing of large-scale masonry structures or similar? Do you want to further your career by making an important contribution to this ambitious and exciting research project with the opportunity to work with leading researchers and bridge owners in the UK? Do you want to help with the development of bridge assessment guides that take into account the real behaviour of masonry arch bridges? 

Although approaching 50% of bridge spans on the UK rail and regional highway networks are of masonry arch construction, our understanding of their fundamental behaviour remains limited, and the modelling approaches used by engineers when assessing the strength and in-service performance of such bridges are not capable of capturing real-world behaviour. This means that bridges are being needlessly damaged, strengthened and/or demolished, at significant and growing cost to the nation. To help address this a team of researchers from the University of Leeds, Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield has been awarded EPSRC research funding totalling £1.85M for a project titled “Exploiting the resilience of masonry arch bridge infrastructure: a 3D multi-level modelling framework”.

Working with bridge owners and their consultants, the team will undertake an integrated programme of experimental and numerical modelling work to greatly improve our understanding of masonry arch bridge behaviour and to provide practitioners with a powerful suite of modelling tools and a robust 3D multi-level modelling framework. A key part of this work, known as Work Package 1b, to be carried out at the University of Leeds, is to test six different large-scale (3m span) clay brick arch bridges in the laboratory. Each bridge (consisting of a brickwork arch, abutments, wingwalls, spandrels and either limestone or clay backfill) will be subjected to an array of cyclic concentrated loads applied over a continuous period of one month. 

Detailed measurements of the response of each bridge to the applied load will be recorded using digital image correlation and other equipment. The data, together with the results from smaller-scale testing undertaken at Sheffield, will be used by the Imperial College team in the development of a high fidelity finite element model. The Leeds team will also carry out additional testing of masonry samples to facilitate material parameter identification; this is known as Work Package 1c. 

Although you will be based at the University of Leeds you will also work closely with the research teams at Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield. You will attend regular research team meetings and steering group meetings (with the project’s industrial partners) in London and Sheffield. 

Support will be provided for you to achieve some of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) core training objectives (as defined in the IStructE’s research and development route) with a view to assisting you to move towards achieving chartered engineer status.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Steve Garrity, Hoffman Wood Professor of Architectural Engineering
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 5388 or via email: 

Further information

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Location:  Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School/Institute:  School of Civil Engineering
Category:  Research
Grade:  Grade 7
Salary:  £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (Fixed term for up to 3 years, available from the 1st February 2020, to end by 28 February 2023 (grant funding))    
Closing Date:  Sunday 26 January 2020    
Downloads:  Candidate Brief