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The Dynamics and Control group at University of Exeter offers global leading expertise in vibration serviceability, control and observation, nonlinear dynamics of mechanical systems and structural health monitoring. In particular the Vibration Engineering Section (VES) has an international reputation in vibration serviceability, structural health monitoring and active vibration control, and their application to real world problems. In particular the sub-group has strong expertise in managing the performance of new-build and ageing critical infrastructure - in particular bridges.

University of Exeter are accepting applications under the Doctoral Training Partnership for entry in September 2020. The closing date for applications is 30 January 2020. These studentships cover tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant worth £15,009. Supervised by Professor James Brownjohn, and co-Supervised by Dr Genevieve Williams, the PhD will focus on the Dynamics of Human-Structure Interaction, with the opportunity to use VSimulators as part of the research toolkit.

This topic is particularly important because balance control can be compromised in people who have suffered strokes, have diseases such as Parkinsons, are recovering from knee/hip replacement or are simply ageing. Such people are already less stable whilst standing and are more likely to experience problems where the floor is moving, which can occur not just in air, rail, road or water transport, but on structures such as vertically lively floors, footbridges or grandstands and swaying footbridges or even tall buildings. Tolerance to such motion is poorly understand even for the young and able-bodied, and there is no information on the factors that reduce such tolerance.

The research will explore the mechanisms of balance and stability for different types of floor motion (roll, pitch, heave and sway) at different levels and frequencies representing real situations in transport and on structures. It will also explore other factors such as haptic (touch), auditory and visual cues that improve or reduce tolerance. In turn this will allow better design of environments suitable for people with compromised balance.

This project would suit an engineer or mathematician with an interest in moving structures and human dynamics.

More information on the PhD research project can be found here.

Details on how to apply for the PhD Studentship at University of Exeter can be found here.

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