PhD Studentship – Full-field Elasto-plasticity in Dissimilar Welded Joins

Project Description

Welding is a popular joining method for metals, with applications in many areas of engineering. The present project is in collaboration with the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (

The objective is to develop a novel methodology to map the heterogeneous elasto-plastic mechanical properties of varied dissimilar join geometries with controlled stress concentrators to reflect tokomak engineering-relevant situations, as relevant to the UKAEA. This will be performed by coupling Digital Image Correlation, a camera-based full-field measurement technique (see with an inverse identification tool known as the Virtual Fields Method (VFM, see

So far, the VFM has only been applied to welds of the same material, and using simple butt-joint geometry. The present project aims at introducing two major novelties. First, more complex geometries will be considered, like a T-join. More complex virtual fields will need to be used, as recently proposed in [1]. Second, dissimilar materials will be considered. Together with the complex geometry, it mean that the simple parameterization of previous VFM work on welds will not be possible so for the first time, automated parameterization of the spatial distribution of properties will have to be developed. This is an essential feature for the future of the VFM technology, so this PhD has the potential to bring an important contribution to the field, with immediate international impact and visibility.

We are looking for a motivated EU/UK student with a taste for solid mechanics, both experimental and computational. The successful candidate will join a group of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers at Southampton working on similar topics. There will be opportunities of visits to the project partner, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, during the course of the PhD.

Supervisor: Prof. Fabrice Pierron
Co-supervisor: Dr. Allan Harte

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Professor Fabrice Pierron, Engineering Materials Research Group, Email: [email protected], Tel: 44 (0) 2380 59 2891.

Eligibility Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Application Process

Applications should be made online here selecting “PhD Engineering and the Environment (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Fabrice Pierron under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Two reference letters
  • Degree Transcripts to date

For further information please contact: [email protected]

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.


[1] Marek A., Davis F.M., Pierron F., Sensitivity-based virtual fields for the non-linear virtual fields method, Computational Mechanics, vol. 60, n° 3, pp. 409-431, 2017.

To apply for this PhD, please use the following application link: