School of Computing and Engineering

Dynamic response of tall structures made with shear core composed by interlocking panel system

Start dates: January, May and September of each academic year

Duration: This is a three-year position.

Research context

Research at the University of West London lives in an ecosystem of interdisciplinary research clusters. This PhD position is based in the School of Computing and Engineering.

The prime goal of civil engineers is to develop safe and cost effective buildings which contribute to protect human lives from natural disasters such as earthquakes. Traditionally, engineers have designed structures to resist earthquake forces, so that the strength of structural members are equal to or greater than the seismic demand placed on them. During the 1980s and 1990s, new approaches to seismic design emerged which involved modifying structural response to reduce earthquake induced loads to more tolerable levels (Access Science, 2007). These methods included moment frame, braced frame, shear walls, base isolation (Engineering Structures, 2006), supplemental damping (Engineering Structures, 2005) and active control (Engineering Structures, 2004).

However all these techniques are expensive and the average family cannot afford to built a proper earthquake resistance house. Gurkalo, F. and Poutos, K. (2014), in their research proved that interlock panels mechanism improves the response of water towers when subjected to dynamic loading. Therefore, it is expected that the use of such panels could greatly improve the performance of structures under dynamic loading and improve earthquake resistance of tall buildings. 

Research goal

In this research it is proposed to undertake a detailed analytical research study on the dynamic response of different structural systems made with interlocking panels. The proposed study would include both desktop analysis using Finite Element Analysis Software and experimental study using the University’s Facilities. It is anticipated that successful completion of the research study will result in a significant contribution to earthquake and structural engineering science.

The overall aim of the proposed research is to develop a numerical model to simulate the structural behaviour of a building composed of interlocking panels under earthquake loading. 

The following research questions/aspects will be addressed through this research study:

  1. The way in which static and dynamic loads are transferred through a system of interlocking structural panels.
  2. The way in which the complete structure made with interlocking panels responds to dynamic loading – comparison between theory and practice.
  3. The comparative performance, in terms of dynamic response, between a structures composed of interlocking panels and conventional structural systems.
  4. The potential for optimisation of the joining system.

Candidate profile

Applicants will be expected to hold a good first degree (first or upper second class) and a Masters Degree (or equivalent) in Civil Engineering. Potential candidates should have experience on earthquake design according to EC8. Confidence in the use of any FEA software will be advantageous.

All applicants for whom English is not their first language must also demonstrate their English language proficiency through evidence of IELTS at overall 7 (with 6.5 in all four skills) or by providing access to MA/MSc chapters or published work.

Further information

For general enquiries about the application process visit the Graduate School pages.

Questions regarding academic aspects of the project should be directed to