Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Yilin Gui
Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Adjunct Associate Professor Haifei Zhan
Adjunct Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Expansive soil has wide application in industry and research. An example includes compacted bentonite which can be used in landfill cover and as a buffer barrier in nuclear deep geological deposition.

If these materials undergo desiccation, it can experience a significant volume decrease. This compromises the integrity and function of these geostructures, threatening their safety and reliability.

In this project, we'll study molecular dynamics to investigate the underlying mechanism of bentonite's behaviour during drying and provide guidance for material improvement.

Research activities

As part of the research project, you will:

  • conduct comprehensive literature review about the method of molecular dynamics and its current applications in material science
  • investigate the potential package of molecular dynamics available for the study in expansive soil
  • apply the selected molecular dynamics package to simulate the drying process of bentonite
  • discover an approach to improve bentonite's performance when drying, based on molecular dynamics simulations.


Upon completion the research project, we expect to have:

  • a comprehensive literature review
  • molecular dynamics simulation
  • suggestions to improve the performance of bentonite when drying.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, you should have:

  • understanding about scientific programming using computer languages, such as C, C++
  • communication skills in English, including speaking and writing
  • the ability to work in a team
  • the ability to complete tasks in a designated time.
  • relevant background in:
    • materials science
    • civil engineering
    • mechanical engineering
    • chemical engineering.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact Dr Yilin Gui for more information.