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PhD Studentship - Finite element model validation from Stereo Digital Image Correlation measurements

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Monday 31 August 2020
Reference:  1228820DA

Supervisor:                 Prof. Fabrice Pierron

Co-supervisor             Dr Lloyd Fletcher, Dr Pascal Lava

Project description

Digital cameras are now an integral part of our everyday lives (smartphones, CCTVs), costs are going down and performance is shooting up. At a horizon of twenty years, cameras will have replaced conventional sensors like strain gauges and accelerometers in materials and structural mechanical testing. They provide several orders of magnitude more data compared to the current sensors, matching the data-rich nature of numerical simulation. Such camera-based deformation measurements will be fully integrated in the design toolchain and interfaced with CAD/Finite Element (FE) software in the same way as CAD was interfaced with FE twenty years ago, creating a single digital platform encompassing the complete design chain, including physical tests. This will lead to improved design, fewer physical tests and facilitate the move to digital virtual twins.

The present project aims at contributing to this emerging field of engineering by establishing a comprehensive methodology to validate FE models on structural components from Stereo Digital Image Correlation [1]. The methodology presented in [2] will be used, consisting in using the same ‘filter’ on both DIC and FE data. Several test cases will be designed, starting from ‘simple’ 2D specimens to a full 3D substructure. Metallic alloys and composites will be considered. This is an original and timely project as DIC gradually penetrates industrial testing laboratories but test protocols are not designed to make the most of the extensive amount of data SDIC produces. The project will be immediately internationally visible and lead to short-term impact as this topic is currently attracting a lot of interest. 

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, MatchID NV (, located in Ghent, Belgium, during the course of the PhD. 


[1] Sutton, M. A., Orteu, J. J., & Schreier, H. W. (2009). Image correlation for shape, motion and deformation measurements: basic concepts, theory and applications. New-York: Springer.

[2] Lava P., Jones E.M.C., Wittewrongel L., Pierron F., Validation of finite-element models using full-field experimental data: levelling FEA data through a DIC engine, Strain, in revision, 2019. 

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

Entry Requirements

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

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.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,009 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

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

Applications should include

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 

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