HDR Scholarship - Development of a predictive tool for material wear using experiment and coupled SPH and DEM simulation

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Development of a predictive tool for material wear using experiment and coupled SPH and DEM simulation'.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision Team

Dr Sharen Cummins (CSIRO) and A/Prof. Rimma Lapovok (Deakin)


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

The project is in line with areas of national strategic growth, particularly in the resources sector, namely mining equipment, technology and services (METS), and oil, gas and energy resources (OG&E). In these severe operating environments, the service life of equipment and components is very limited, particularly because of wear. A thorough understanding of the wear mechanisms and the development of modelling capability to predict service performance would help to improve the design, reduce the operating costs and increase the reliability of the equipment.

The proposal is linked to the mineAlloy Industrial Transformation Training Centre, which aims to train scientists and engineers in transforming Australia into a producer of world-class equipment and wear resistant components. The new damage model implemented in the SPH solver, accompanied by the DEM capability, is expected to help scientists and engineers better predict the wear performance of equipment and components in service. The knowledge and capabilities developed would add considerable value to the reputation of the Parties and their world-class research positions. The commercial potential of resulting improved predictive models of wear could be explored with the industry partners of the mineAlloy ITTC as well as across the METS and OG&E sectors. This research is partially funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council. This PhD position is dependent on the award of a DUCA scholarship from Data61, CSIRO. As part of this project the successful applicant will have to conduct research at CSIRO in Clayton.

Project aim

The wear behaviour of materials has traditionally been studied using laboratory testing equipment, in which the samples are subjected to abrasive and impact wear conditions (ASTM G65 / ASTM G76). However, the results depend on a large number of variables, including the testing parameters (particle shape, impact angle and velocity), the material’s properties (hardness, toughness and strain hardening) and the microstructural features (grain size, precipitates, crystallographic texture). Because of the large number of variables, the individual contribution of each factor is difficult to determine from the experiments. Moreover, the experimental approach becomes expensive, cumbersome and inaccurate. Therefore, a modelling approach offers a cost-effective way to study the individual contribution of each testing parameter, material property or microstructural feature to the wear resistance of materials and to better understand the fundamental mechanisms that lead to surface damage, abrasion and erosion.

The plastic deformation of the material due to individual impacts/scratches will be simulated using Data61’s Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) solver. The micro-plastic damage and the changes in the microstructure with each subsequent impact/scratch will be studied. The transition between brittle fracture and ductile behaviour will also be considered based on material properties and energy criterion. This will likely require development or adoption of new plasticity models that will be implemented in the SPH solver. The results will be generalized by coupling the SPH solver with Discrete Element Models (DEM) which simulate the operating conditions of industrial scale equipment. In addition, this program will have access to the extensive characterization and wear testing facilities available at IFM (Deakin University) as well as those accessible through the ARC mineAlloy training center. The experimental results, particularly the characterization of the worn surfaces, will provide valuable insights to validate the damage models implemented in the SPH solver. It is envisaged that this multiscale modelling approach (SPH and DEM), coupled with the experimental validation of the damage models, will create a powerful tool to better understand the fundamentals of wear of materials.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Sunday 31 March 2019.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,082 per annum tax exempt (2018 rate)
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.
  • Experience with Numerical Modelling and Analysis of Partial Differential Equations and/or Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Experience in F90 and/or C++ programming languages
  • Have the ability to plan and conduct laboratory experiments and analyse data from them
  • Have good oral, written and presentation skills

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Desirable eligibility criteria:

  • Good operating knowledge of Linux
  • Background knowledge of the SPH/FEM and DEM numerical methods
  • Background knowledge of material plasticity and damage models
  • Experience with combining experimental outputs for validating simulation predictions and understanding physical process mechanisms

How to apply

Please complete the expression of interest form and email to Santiago Corujeira Gallo


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Santiago Corujeira Gallo.

Santiago Corujeira Gallo
MineAlloy Centre Manager
IFM, Deakin University
Email Santiago Corujeira Gallo
+61 3 5247 9378