EngD - Advanced Composites for Blast Resistant Buildings

Course Location London
Cost £0
Type of course in situ
Course provider University College London
Available dates for this course

Please contact University College London directly for a current list of course dates

EngD - Advanced Composites for Blast Resistant Buildings

EngD Urban Sustainability & Resilience

Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

4 year tax-free stipend at £17,750pa

In collaboration with Caparo Vehicle Technologies, we have funding from the EPSRC for an EngD studentship (4 year program) for the following project:


In order to save lives and prevent injuries, blast protection for key structural elements of buildings is urgently required to ensure that our public spaces are resilient to terrorist attacks. Developed initially for armoured vehicle applications, a new advanced composite which is capable of resisting ballistic impacts and blasts already exists at Caparo. It uses low cost readily available materials in combination with cleverly designed composites to achieve a high performance, low weight and low cost material. Key to this technology is the composites processing which can be carried out on a large scale and at high speed. Preliminary tests on this exciting new material have demonstrated that it is capable of resisting impacts of up to Stanag level 1 and compared to special steels with a similar impact resistance it is 30% lighter. Being manufactured from readily available low cost materials it is also several orders of magnitude cheaper than current state of the art Kevlar protection. By virtue of being a ceramic this new FRC material is fireproof (verification tests will be carried out to determine the extent of its fire resistance). A further advantage of using FRCs is that they have large load carrying abilities and hence can be integrated into the structure to help carry the load and hence reduce the size and cost of structural components.


The project aims to:

produce an optimised, inexpensive, blast-proof ceramic composite as cladding/structural material for interior fit outs to guarantee the resilience of public buildings against terrorist attacks
predict and optimise the behaviour of the new composite numerically or analytically
produce design guidelines for public spaces and internal components e.g. partitions, balustrades etc.


However some technical challenges need to be addressed before these can come to fruition, hence the main streams of research are:

Mechanical and micro-mechanical analyses in order to predict the material’s long term behaviour and to optimize its performance and composition. Depending on the complexity of the reinforcement geometry and weave, this research will either be carried out theoretically or numerically using Finite Element software.

The application driven second stream of research includes a rigorous and comprehensive testing programme at UCL and Caparo to establish the FRC composite characteristics. Tests will include fire resistance, strength, impact resistance etc. These will also verify the analytical studies, hence giving both partners full confidence in optimizing (without constant retesting) the ceramic/fibre ratios which will further reduce material cost.

Structural design studies for the best cladding options and to identify the protection requirements for the weight bearing elements of a typical building subjected to a representative blast. Input from the Architecture and Human Sciences Departments will be used to obtain aesthetic yet maximum protection surroundings for building users.

Literature searches and interaction with academics in the fields of blast propagation and mitigation, building services, architecture and design to establish the design principles and optimal layouts for armoured internal components such as partition walls, movable partitions, conveyor balustrades, windows and even furniture.


This exciting project for cost effective blast resistant buildings will produce:

An advanced low cost, fire proof composite for blast resistant buildings which can be used as cladding or integrated as a load carrying material in structural elements
Analytical/numerical models of the new FRC composite
Open space design rules for public spaces in order to minimize injuries and loss of life due to bomb blasts
A design for buildings resistant to terrorist attacks -- from the structural, architectural and human sciences perspectives.


For a place on the EngD programme funded through EPSRC awards, applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility requirements. EngD Funding is available for applicants who have been working residents in the UK for at least three years prior to the proposed commencement of the programme.

Visit this website for more information: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/PostgraduateTraining/StudentEligibility.htm

Applicants must have at least a 2.1 degree in an Engineering discipline or an MSc or MA in a related subject. Candidates should be highly motivated with a good analytical mind and be able to think creatively.

Please email a short statement accompanied by your CV by the 29th of August indicating how you meet the entrance requirements to the academic supervisor leading this project: Dr Lin Tze Tan (l.tan (AT) ucl.ac.uk). If you are successful, you will be invited for an interview in early September.

Contact: Lin Tan

Phone: +44 20 7679 2716

Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering Chadwick Building Gower St
United Kingdom
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Telephone: 0207 679 7831