Study level


Master of Philosophy


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Michael Cholette
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Biomass boilers are critical for the generation of steam for industrial use and power generation. However, these boilers degrade over time and failure result in costly forced shutdowns.

The aim of this project is to develop and validate new models to describe key degradation mechanisms (erosion, corrosion, etc.). We'll then use these models to develop new inspection, maintenance, and renewal plans.

The project will make use of real operational data to develop both physical and stochastic process models to describe future failure risks.

Bayesian techniques will be used to identify model parameters and improve uncertainty quantification, and optimisation of maintenance decisions will employ nonlinear programming and/or Markov decision process frameworks.

Research activities

As part of this research project, you'll be involved in:

  • bayesian statistical modelling
  • maintenance planning
  • mathematical optimisation
  • erosion/corrosion modelling
  • data analysis.


As a result of this research, we expect to develop optimised maintenance and operation plans for boilers.

Skills and experience

You'll need to have a GPA above 6 and either a background in engineering or mathematics. Skills and experience in the following are desirable:

  • thermodynamic modelling
  • programming (preferably MATLAB)
  • probability and statistics (particularly Bayesian statistics)
  • data processing and visualisation
  • corrosion analysis and modelling.


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

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.