Skip to main content

Geotechnical engineering - shakedown of transport infrastructure


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Professor David Connolly
School of Civil Engineering
Research groups/institutes
Cities and Infrastructure, Materials and Structures
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

A combination of bound and unbound aggregate materials are used as the foundations for roads, railways and airfields. They are designed to withstand the forces induced by moving vehicles and distribute the induced stresses into the natural subgrade below. Under cyclic loading, if the stresses in the structure are maintained below the shakedown limit, the foundation will experience limited permanent deformation and thus a long lifespan. In contrast, if the shakedown limit is exceeded, it will rapidly deform and eventually fail. Therefore this project will develop cutting-edge techniques to quickly calculate the shakedown limit and strategies to increase it.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px">This project will investigate the following aspects of shakedown:</p> <p><strong>New techniques.</strong> The development and validation of analytical techniques to compute the shakedown limit for transport foundations (road, rail and airfield)</p> <p><strong>Ground improvement.</strong>&nbsp; Ground improvement can be performed to increase the strength and stiffness properties of the natural subgrade.&nbsp; The ability of this to increase the shakedown limit will be explored.</p> <p><strong>Geogrids.</strong> The performance of transport foundations can be improved using techniques such as geogrids and geocells.&nbsp; New techniques to analyse these structures will be developed before using them to investigate the benefits of these solutions on bearing capacity.</p> <p><strong>Climate change.</strong>&nbsp; Climate projections predict future increases in subgrade saturation.&nbsp; The effect of this on shakedown will be investigated</p> <p>First the PhD will perform an initial review of these shakedown research areas.&nbsp; Based upon the outcomes, the candidate will then have the freedom to pursue their one of greatest interest, primarily via numerical simulation techniques.&nbsp; Due to the novelty of the research and model development, there is the opportunity to write world-leading, international journal papers on the subject.&nbsp; Considering the international nature of the research, candidates will be expected to attend international conferences if required.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course pf Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PhD Civil Engineering FT,&nbsp;</strong></em>in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Geotechnical engineering - shakedown of transport infrastructure</strong></em> as well as <a href="">Professor David Connolly</a> as your proposed supervisor and&nbsp;and in the finance section, please state clearly&nbsp;<em><strong>the funding that you are applying for, if you are self-funding or externally sponsored</strong></em>.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 3 April 2024 for Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship or 8 April 2024 for Leeds Doctoral Scholarship:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:12px"><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants (open from October 2023). <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong> &ndash;The&nbsp;<a href="">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China (now closed for 2024/25 entry). The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:</strong>&nbsp; Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under these studentships.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Professor David Connolly by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>