Fully Funded EPSRC & TCGA PhD Scholarship: Computational Analysis of Geological Formations on Multiple-Length and Time Scales

Location:

Swansea

Salary:
This scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,285 reviewed annually in line with UKRI rates.

This scholarship is funded by EPSRC and Three Cliffs Geomechanical Analysis, Ltd.

Start date: October 2020

Subject areas: Engineering, Geology, Geomechanics, Computational Mechanics

Project description:

Large-scale geomechanical modelling of geological formations, one to ten kilometres scale, is a key component for assessment of the past, current and future stress/pore pressure state in a range of energy and safety critical applications including: earthquake prediction, mining and hydrocarbon exploration, storage of nuclear waste, caprock integrity assessment for carbon sequestration. Despite the increased interest and application of large-scale geomechanical modelling, and the advances in academic research into computational methods, there is a huge disparity between the relatively crude methodologies currently employed by industry and the methodologies achievable with the state-of-the-art computational technologies.

The main aim of this project is to undertake a multiscale characterisation of geological materials and formations. Geological formations often exhibit structure on several length-scales. For instance, in addition to the material microstructure, pervasive joint sets may exist below/at the resolution of the finite mesh employed in field-scale simulations. Consequently, a multi-level homogenization procedure will be developed to facilitate upscaling from: high definition image-scale (< 2mm) → scale of material heterogeneities (e.g. micro-cracks, small-scale natural fractures) → geological-scale element size (5-10m).

The proposed PhD research work will combine academic knowledge within Swansea University (Professor Peric) and industrial research expertise of industrial collaborator (Dr Crook, TCGA), with an aim to develop coupled geomechanical/flow modelling framework for simulation of field-scale and basin-scale evolution over geological time frames. Multiscale and multiphysics modelling techniques developed within this project will be embedded in a novel computational framework for strongly nonlinear problems, which will target simulations of very large-scale applications of geological processes with more than 100M elements. The novel physical approaches embedded in proposed modelling framework will greatly increase predictive capability for applications that will be focused on earthquake prediction and control, and will also be applicable to mining and hydrocarbon exploration. This will afford a considerable advantage in the current industry workflows, and due to the importance to industry, successful demonstration is likely to attract further industrial funding to both expand the R&D and collaborate on commercial implementations.

Eligibility

Academic requirements

Candidates should hold a minimum of an upper second class (2:1) honours degree (or its equivalent) in Engineering or similar relevant discipline (Geology, Geomechanics, Computational Mechanics).

Good knowledge of nonlinear mechanics and computer programming skills (FORTRAN/C/MATLAB) are highly desirable.

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements (IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – http://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/english-language-requirements/

Residency criteria

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Please apply here.

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