Skip to main content
View All Vacancies

PhD Studentship- Interfacial debonding detection of strengthened concrete structures using smart sensors


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Monday 08 May 2023
Reference:  ENG1634

Project Description:

Retrofitting is the only viable solution to extend the service life of existing structures (i.e. bridges, buildings) that present severe deficiencies due to ageing of materials (e.g. corrosion). Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites is a popular retrofitting system which is applied as externally bonded reinforcement to upgrade the performance of existing structures. However, one of the major issues in using this system is related to debonding at the interface. The bond failure is a brittle mode of failure with detrimental effects for the stability of the structure. Hence, monitoring the initiation and propagation of interfacial debonding in FRP composite systems and other types of externally bonded systems (mortar-based composites like Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Mortars (FRCM)) is of utmost importance for the safety of the retrofitted structures.

This project aims to utilise the Fibre Optic Sensors (FOSs) technology to monitor the bond health of interfaces developed after retrofitting of structures with FRP and mortar-based composites. FOSs will be used as a structural health monitoring system, which will enable real-time monitoring for detecting instant deficiencies at the interface. A series of experiments, which will involve tensile coupon tests and single lap shear bond tests, will be carried out to identify the sensitivity of FOSs in capturing the bond behaviour of the externally applied composites. The results obtained from fiber optic sensors will be compared with those of the Digital Image Correlation (DIC) data. The system developed will be applied and tested in larger scale specimens (e.g., beams, and columns) retrofitted with externally bonded systems. Furthermore, numerical models will be developed calibrated by the experimental data. The numerical models will be used for further parametric studies.

The outcomes of this Ph.D. research will provide new knowledge on the structural health monitoring of interfaces in retrofitted structural elements.

Application details

The position is available to start in October 2023.

Duration: 3 years

Closing date: open until filled


Eligible for home and international students.

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a 1st class or 2.1 honours degree in Civil Engineering. 

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Informal contact can be sent to Dr Georgia Thermou ( before submitting an online application. Please send a cover letter and a copy of your CV with your up to date relevant experience. 

Online application can be made via Please quote the studentship reference and Dr Georgia Thermou. 

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship.

Contact details: 

Name: Dr Georgia Thermou





Email details to a friend


Forgotten Details


This site requires the use of cookies as defined by our Terms and Conditions.  We have provided a detailed description of how cookies work and are used on the site.  To accept cookies, please click the "Accept Cookies" button.