[NotiAMCA] Beca FPI UPC-Barcelona

Victorio Sonzogni sonzogni en intec.unl.edu.ar
Jue Feb 11 09:29:29 EST 2010

Estimado Victorio,
Le agradecería si pudiera divulgar esta propuesta de beca de doctorado  
dentro de Notiamca.

  Saludos cordiales,
  Andrés Idiart

Dear Colleague:
In the context of the research project
"Three-dimensional cracking in soils due to oscillations of
environmental variables",
funding is available for one graduate student to carry his/her
research towards a Ph.D. degree in this field.

This project represents the development of a continuing line of
research initiated in previous research projects, that has produced
advances in a topic so far little studied: crack formation in soils
due to changes in environmental conditions (such as drought), a
recurrent phenomenon in Mediterranean-type climates with wide
implications (e.g., change of soil?s permeability or of its bearing
capacity).  Cracks can propagate from the upper surface in contact
with the atmosphere towards the interior of the sample, but also in
the opposite direction starting from the bottom surface and
propagating towards the upper, external surface.  These cracks do not
necessarily cross the whole sample; rather, they may stop or even
change direction in random interior points.  The surface crack pattern
is different in the upper and bottom surfaces, suggesting different
types of cracking mechanisms on or near both surfaces which needs to
be further investigated in more detail. Also, bending of the soil
cells in the vertical plane is almost always present.  This bending
might be explained by differential drying between the sample?s upper
and bottom surfaces.  The obvious conclusion is that cracking in soils
is essentially a three-dimensional phenomenon and as such must be
investigated both experimentally and from the theoretical and
numerical viewpoints. In this research project we propose to continue
the experimental research focusing in two main subjects: a) study of
the cracking process as a three-dimensional phenomenon, investigating
key aspects such as the impact of crack opening in the volume of
evaporated water, the cause of the different crack patterns seen on
the top and bottom boundaries, or the three-dimensional crack pattern;
and b) adding new features to an already existing environmental
chamber to simulate, in the laboratory, cycles of temperature, air
humidity or rain, to increase the precision and performance of the
chamber, because so far it has proven difficult to control some cyclic
tests such as recurrent drought-rain episodes.  As for the
theoretical/numerical research, this will focus on the simulation of
the laboratory tests performed in the environmental chamber, which
will allow a better understanding of the three-dimensional crack
patterns in natural conditions and in turn to study real boundary
problems that may pose some risk conditions.  Most of the effort will
be devoted to developing a three-dimensional coupled finite element
code that will be based on the already existing two-dimensional code.

Applications must be started electronically at the web of the Spanish
Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN):
Applicants can also look at the UPC web page


Applications must be submitted before FEBRUARY 22, 2010; candidates
should look at the instructions carefully about the conditions and
procedures for the application. In case of doubts or questions about
the application process, they can also contact us directly.

We would deeply appreciate if you could circulate this notice to those
you think might be interested in carrying research in this topic at
our University.  If you need more details, please do contact us:

Pere Prat (pere.prat en upc.edu)
Alberto Ledesma (alberto.ledesma en upc.edu)

Best regards, and many thanks for your cooperation.
Pere Prat
Associate Professor
Dept. of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences, UPC
Jordi Girona, 1-3 --- 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Tel. +34 934016511   Fax +34 934017251
pere.prat en upc.edu


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