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PhD Studentships available at Clemson University, USA

We are currently seeking to fill three to four funded Ph.D. positions in the Natural Hazards and Environmental Fluid Mechanics research group in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. The positions are funded through a combination of federal research grants and state teaching assistantships. The assistantships will cover tuition, a full stipend, and funds for conference travel. Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree (though an M.Sc. is preferred) in one of the following disciplines, Civil, Mechanical, Environmental, or Chemical engineering, Physics, or math. The candidate should have a strong record of academic performance demonstrated through their GPA or GRE scores. The Ph.D. students will be working on one of the following projects.

1- Spot fire prediction in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) communities

Home ignition due to ember accumulation on a building is a significant risk in WUI fires. There is a growing literature on ignition criteria due to ember build up on specific home features (NIST) and single homes (IBHS). However, it is unclear how this data should be applied to a full-scale WUI community during an ember storm in which the wind field in and around sets of buildings is far more complex than considered in previous laboratory tests. The conditions that lead to peak ember accumulation on a given house, which will vary significantly across a given WUI community, remain unknown. The overall objective of this research is to quantify the accumulation rate of embers on buildings in realistic WUI communities and translate this data in to a home ignition risk model. The bulk of the work will be conducted in the Clemson University Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel and will involve design and development of experimental techniques to measure ember capture in model WUI communities.

2- Dense gas dispersion in urban areas

Low wind regions within urban canopies can reduce pollution dispersion, leading to increased local concentrations and residence times. This is particularly true for dense gas releases whose weight retards vertical mixing. Increased urbanization both in the US and globally means more people are living in urban canopies and are at increased risk of exposure to accidental or malicious releases of dense gas. This risk will increase over the coming years as the development of carbon sequestration technology will require dense carbon dioxide to be transported through or near urban areas. However, the physics of dense gas dispersion in urban areas is poorly understood because of the health risks, cost, and measurement resolution limitations of large-scale field studies. This research will develop a new laboratory method for safely studying dense gas dispersion in urban areas at a spatial resolution not previously achieved, and use this method to undertake high resolution, statistically rigorous validation of computational models.


To apply, please send your Curriculum Vitae to Dr. Nigel Kaye (nbkaye@clemson.edu)