Research Associate in Nonlinear Structures

Bristol , City of Bristol (GB)
£32,548 - £36,613 per annum
23 Mar 2018
End of advertisement period
22 Apr 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Based in the Advanced Nonlinear Structures research team within the world leading Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS) and the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol, this is an exciting opportunity to join a strong group developing state of the art numerical and experimental methods to understand and exploit geometrically nonlinear behavior in composite and lightweight structures.

Structural design is normally limited to linear regimes. In other words, structures are often designed to be stiff and exhibit small displacements, i.e. to respond linearly to the applied loads. Under these circumstances, design methods are well established and based on decades of experience.

Designers usually avoid large displacements because they may cause unwanted shape changes and trigger the transition to nonlinear regimes, potentially leading to catastrophic and often sudden, uncontrolled failure. However, if we could learn to control such behaviour, it could actually be exploited for additional functionality.

Our aim is to explore the possibilities given by nonlinear responses in structural design for the development of the next generation of adaptive structures and to create novel paradigms for structural efficiency. You will contribute to delivering the team’s scientific vision by developing:
Novel design principles that exploit structural nonlinearities.
New numerical and/or experimental methods for the analysis of nonlinear/morphing/adaptive structures.
Concepts for structural efficiency via stiffness adaptation and multifunctional nonlinear structures.

You will develop new modelling tools, custom written codes and/or experimental methods, working in collaboration with academic and industrial partners. High quality analytical and numerical simulations, as well as experimental methodologies capable of dealing with smooth and abrupt nonlinearities, will be a crucial part of the process of understanding how to use, rather than avoid, nonlinear behaviors in composite and/or lightweight structures.

You will have preferably a PhD, or at least a Master’s degree, in Engineering (or a closely related discipline), and have good experience of finite element analysis techniques and/or programming and/or experimental methods, as well as a wider knowledge of composites.

This post is offered on an open ended contract with funding for up to 24 months.

It is anticipated that interviews will take place shortly after the closing date.
Informal enquiries can be made to: Dr Alberto Pirrera (

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.

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