Study level


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Mathematical Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Vivien Challis
Lecturer in Applied and Computational Mathematics
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The field of fracture mechanics effectively models failure of sharp flaws (e.g., cracks). However, when modelling porous materials we'd like to develop more of an understanding of how stresses are concentrated around smooth flaws in the material (i.e., rounded pores).

In this project we'll start to build such an understanding, starting from simple U shaped notches.

Research activities

You can expect to:

  • read monographs and recent publications to gain an understanding of the field
  • develop your understanding of solid mechanics and numerical methods
  • run finite element solutions using Ansys on our High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster
  • communicate your work in written form
  • use MATLAB for additional computations and visualisation
  • meet regularly with Dr Challis to discuss ideas and research direction, as well as to receive feedback.


We'll gain an understanding of how stress concentrators affect the failure load of structures and porous materials.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, you'll need an interest in solid mechanics and computational methods.

Some prior experience with MATLAB and/or other programming languages would also be beneficial.



Contact the supervisor for more information.