Description of field of research:

Rock failure (from small-scale rock rupture to large-scale earthquakes) remains a challenging topic for decades, puzzled by the natural uncertainty. The understanding of rock material will prohibit potential geophysical and geotechnical hazards (such as the Magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Melbourne months ago!) and benefits mining, civil and petroleum engineering.

A series of world-leading monitoring equipment will be open to candidates aiming at better understanding the rock failure process, supported by the Multiphysics high-pressure high-temperature Rock Testing System developed in the UNSW mining geomechanics laboratory. The project aims to comprehensively investigate the rock failure process from lab testing, with multi-angle and all-around monitoring approaches, such as precise AE monitoring, ultrasonic wave measurement and numerical simulation.

The candidate will interact as a team member in the research group, interacting with other PhD students and academic staff. During this project, the candidate can develop a strong research background and understand basic knowledge on rock mechanical lab testing, classic continuous mechanics, numerical modelling and research management skills.

Research Area

Civil Engineering

In 2018, the Faculty of Engineering invested $400k research infrastructure grant to develop a multiphysics triaxial rock testing system, which has been commissioned from GCTS and delivered in May 2019. This system enables the simultaneous measurement of mechanical deformation, permeability, acoustic emission, and ultrasonic wave transmission under high-pressure-high-temperature conditions over the entire rock failure process. The ToR candidate will interact with other research students and research fellows and be working under the supervision of experienced staff.

The successful applicant is expected to

i. Propose a theoretical/empirical relationship linking seismicity, fracture damage, and permeability evolution during the rock failure process.

ii. Improve the understanding of rock physics as a response to various mining stress loading conditions reproduced in the controlled lab environment and evaluate their impact on gas flow behaviour.