Research Students: REMS 2022

Anna Ermakova


Thesis title: Structural integrity assessment of functionally graded components created using additive manufacturing technology for marine applications

Project description: An efficient source of clean energy, which is increasingly becoming the preferred solution to realising Britain's and Europe's energy demand, is offshore wind. The current challenge in offshore wind industry is to reduce the Offshore Wind Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE) and make it competitive with alternative sources of energy. Monopile foundation, which is traditionally made of large welded plates, is the dominant type of support structure in offshore wind farms. The proposed project will explore the possibility of creating a managed residual stress field and microstructure in future monopiles using multi-metallic-layer wire plus arc additive manufacture (WAAM) technology, which has a great potential to reduce the LCoE and lead to significant fatigue life enhancement in monopile structures. Different strength, e.g. ER70S, ER100S, of ferritic and austenitic steel grades will be used to create critical optimised functionally graded structure with enhanced tolerance towards damage propagation in harsh corrosive environments.

Project Poster

Academic supervisors: Dr Ali Mehmanparast, Dr Supriyo Ganguly

Sarah Martin


Sarah is a Chartered Professional Engineer of Australia (CPEng) and Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) specialising in geotechnical engineering. She graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 2012 from the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Sarah obtained 1st Class Honours and was awarded the University Medal for best overall performance, AH Corbett Prize for best final year performance and Kaliope Vassilopolous Women in Engineering Prize for best final year performance by a female student. Sarah then worked as a geotechnical engineer with Golder Associates for almost 6 years and contributed to major infrastructure projects throughout Australia and New Zealand. Her industry experience included soil testing, construction supervision, geotechnical field investigations, project management, geotechnical analysis and design. Sarah is enrolled in the DPhil program at the University of Oxford and is funded by Ørsted

Thesis title: Medium Scale Field Testing of Monopile Foundations Under Cyclic Lateral Loading

Project description: This DPhil project forms part of a larger research framework which aims to improve design methods for monopile foundations subject to cyclic lateral loading. Monopiles are the most widely used foundation type in the offshore wind industry and such structures experience significant cyclic lateral loading from wind and waves. Medium scale field testing is required to obtain data on pile behaviour for the validation of theoretical design methods. Similar testing was conducted as part of the PISA project focusing on monotonic lateral loading, while this testing campaign will extend the research to cyclic lateral loading and rate effects. This project is funded by Ørsted.

Project Poster

Academic Supervisor: Prof. Byron Byrne

Mark Qiu

Mark is a geotechnical engineer with a particular interest in geotechnics and renewable energy. Prior to joining the REMS CDT program, Mark obtained a 1st class BSc Eng degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Cape Town and was awarded the DC Robertson Memorial prize for the top final year project. Following this Mark extended his stay at the University of Cape Town to achieve a MSc Eng (with distinction) in Geotechnical Engineering. After which he pursued a career as a graduate geotechnical engineer at Meinhardt Consulting, based in Shenzhen China. His research interests include advanced laboratory testing and offshore foundation design. Mark is funded by the EPSRC and Ørsted. He is enrolled on the DPhil program at Oxford.


Thesis title: Advanced element testing of soils under complex cyclic loads

Project description: The behaviour of offshore wind turbine foundations is typically assessed using numerical modelling techniques, such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA). A fundamental element of FEA is the selection and calibration of suitable constitutive models that describe the mechanical behaviour of soils. For clays and sands under monotonic loading, these models are well-defined. However, for soils under real-life complex cyclic loads, including multidirectional and multi-amplitude loading, rate effects and ratcheting, the constitutive relationships are less well developed. This DPhil project will develop an extensive database of high-quality experimental tests using the simple shear and triaxial apparatus to assist the development of the constitutive models for cyclic loading. The work will make use of a novel variable direction simple shear testing system, specially developed for the University of Oxford.

Project Poster

Academic supervisor: Prof. Byron Byrne

Ahmad Al Mansour

Ahmad Al Mansour is a charted engineer specialised in welding and material science. He obtained his bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2009. After that, he started working in oil and gas construction projects in the Middle East. In 2014, he obtained MSc in Welding Engineering at Cranfield University and started working in oil and gas industry in UK as material & welding engineer. Then he decided to expand his knowledge and he obtained his second MSc in corrosion control engineering at the University of Manchester. Ahmad is always looking for new challenges and continuous development that’s why he decided to join the REMS programme. Ahmed is a member of TWI and charted with the UK engineering council. Ahmad is now a member of the fifth cohort of the REMS CDT programme enrolled at University of Strathclyde.

Thesis title: Optimal Welding Processes for Life Cycle Performance of Marine Structures

Project description: TBC

Project Poster

Academic supervisors: Prof Athanasisos Kolios, Prof. Feargal Brennan

Sharda Lochan


Sharda completed her bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2013 at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She went onto work as an Applications Engineer in the oil and gas sector. In 2018, she completed her MSc in Offshore and Ocean Technology with Offshore Materials Engineering at Cranfield University. She is now continuing her research through an EngD in Renewable Energy Marine Structures in partnership with TWI.

Thesis title: Fatigue Performance of Bolted Connections of Offshore Wind Turbines

Project description: Flanged bolted connections are used on offshore wind turbines to connect the monopile/gravity base foundation to the
transition piece and the transition piece to the tower. Forces and moments generated by the effects of winds, waves and
currents subject these connections to variable amplitude loads and stresses. Areas such as the flange face, welds and bolts
are vulnerable to fatigue cracking and failure as a result of in-service conditions, bolt relaxation, incorrect installation and
manufacturing tolerances. The aim of this project is to investigate the fatigue performance of flanged bolted connections
of offshore wind turbines.

Project Poster

Academic supervisors: Dr Ali Mehmanparast, Dr Mahmood Shafiee
Industry supervisor: John Wintle (TWI)

Mohammad Rezvanipour


Mohammad is a Mechanical Engineer with a particular interest in Material. Before joining the REMS CDT program, Mohammad completed his BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from Shiraz IA University. He then started to work in Zagros Petrochemical Company (ZPC) in 2010 until 2012 and continued his work as a senior engineer and designer in SINA Control Design and Manufacturing company until 2015. He received his MSc degree in 2018 in Mechanical Engineering in Material from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Thesis title: Advanced numerical methods for optimisation of next generation wind turbine support structure

Project description: TBC

Project Poster

Academic supervisors: Prof Athanasios Kolios, Prof Feargal Brennan

Bohan Chen


Bohan Chen spent her first three years of undergraduate in Shandong University majoring in City Underground Space Engineering and participated in a collaborative program in the stream of Civil Engineering at Durham University in her fourth year. After spending two years in Durham, Bohan obtained a BEng degree from Shandong University (Outstanding) and an MEng degree from Durham University (First Honour) in 2018. Her final year project of MEng was Numerical Investigation of Water Coning with Enriched Boundary Element Method. Now she is enrolled on DPhil programme at Oxford University and will focus on developing an optimised design method for offshore wind turbine foundations. Bohan’s research is funded by China Scholarship Council and Oxford University.

Thesis title: Progressive Distortion of Offshore Wind Turbine Monopile Foundations During Installation

Project description: The research will focus on the monopile foundation, but with a view to further developing a more optimised structure through advanced design methods. The research will rely on numerical, theoretical, and experimental methods.

Project Poster

Academic supervisors: Prof. Byron Byrne and Prof. Chris Martin

Arash Shakouri


Thesis title: Time domain modelling and multidisciplinary design optimization of floating offshore wind turbines

Project description: TBC

Project Poster

Academic supervisor: Dr Maurizio Collu

Ayo Fajuyigbe


Ayo holds a Master of Engineering (Meng) and a Master of Arts (MA, Cantab) from the University of Cambridge. He also holds a Master of Science (MSc) with distinction in Advanced Engineering Design from Brunel University. Ayo is hugely experienced in the finite element analysis of complex structures. He has extensive experience in the design, analysis and structural monitoring of offshore oil and gas systems as well as onshore telecommunications lattice structures. He hopes to apply the breadth of his experience to make a valuable contribution to the REMS development program. Ayo is a Chartered Engineer through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Thesis Title: A Surrogate Model Framework for Structural Lifetime Extension Assessment of Monopile Wind Turbines

Project Description: The development of renewable energy sources is one of the critical engineering challenges of the modern era. Amongst the plethora of renewable technologies available, wind turbine technology has an edge due to its technological maturity and relative cost competitiveness. The profitability of a wind turbine unit is dependent on its ability to operate with minimal outages during its design life.
Structurally, the biggest obstacle to this aim is fatigue loading of the turbine. Fatigue is the phenomenon of slow deterioration of steel due to continuous varying loads over time. Fatigue design is in the form of a desktop simulation accounting for; environmental loads over the lifetime of the structure, steel properties at the most severely loaded sections (typically: welds) and fatigue resistance of the details of these welds: empirical S–N curves.
The analysis often contains conservatisms due to several factors ranging from simplification of loading history to reduce computation time, uncertainties in the environmental conditions and uncertainties in the structural properties. Hence, one key challenge in the operational management of commercial wind turbines is to accurately determine the remaining useful life (RUL) of the wind turbine. As wind turbines are typically designed for a target life of 20 years, many of the current installed units are nearing or over the design life. An accurate methodology for the determination of RUL is therefore needed to assess the true capabilities of these existing structures and to guarantee the operation of future installations.

Project Poster

Academic Supervisors: Prof. Feargal Brennan, Prof Athanasios Kolios

Innes Murdo Black


Innes Murdo Black is a Wind Energy Engineer with a particular interest in Data science. He studied an MEng in Mechanical engineering from the University of Aberdeen, followed by an MSc in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Glasgow. Before joining the REMS CDT he has had a particular interest in Machine Learning algorithms applied to the renewable energy sector. His individual master project focused on predicting weather patterns to optimise power generation of a domestic wind turbine using a time series artificial neural network.

Thesis title: Machine learning techniques applied to future wind turbines

Project description: The offshore wind industry is rapidly developing, demonstrating a need for improving its infrastructure on structural health monitoring by providing prescriptive action preventing critical failure. Preventative maintenances’ purpose is to increase the value of the offshore wind turbine while improving the operational uptime and preventing failure using intervention. The goal of this field is to develop a diagnostic module to determine the direct cause of failure for prognosis. Machine learning has opened the door to possibilities of preventing failures ahead of time using SCADA data for effective maintenance. The aim of this project is to determine effective Machine learning methods for failure detection and critically analyse the most effective methods for specific failure modes. This is performed by firstly reviewing current methods of structural health monitoring applying machine learning to understand the industry trends. Secondly, developing a diagnostic module, this will require the development of an advanced program to determine failure modes using a machine learning method.

Project Poster

Academic supervisor: Prof Athanasios Kolios

Cameron Simpson


Thesis Title: The development of a coupled model of dynamics of a FOWT for the analysis of the failure modes

Project Description: TBC

Project Poster

Academic Supervisor: Dr Maurizio Collu

Kingsley Sunday

Kingsley is a Chartered Engineer through the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Chartered Manager through the Chartered Management Institute. He holds a master’s degree with Distinction in Subsea Structural Engineering from the University of Aberdeen and a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Port Harcourt. Kingsley has extensive experience in structural dynamics, with particular expertise in the analysis and design of subsea riser systems, telecommunications lattice and monopole mast structures, structural monitoring and integrity.

Thesis Title: Optimising and closing the design loop of offshore wind farm and assets useful life using measured (monitoring) data

Project Description: Recent development of offshore wind turbines relative to offshore oil and gas structures, and the increasing demand for clean and sustainable energy have prompted the need for further research to deal with structural related challenges. Structural reliability and safety, design uncertainties, manufacturing defects, installation induced stresses, and ageing, amongst others can lead to high life-cycle costs and even catastrophic structural failure. These challenges are exacerbated by harsh environmental conditions, such as in the North Sea, in addition to the dynamic behaviour of wind turbines.

The understanding, design, maintenance, and operation of offshore wind turbine structures are mostly achieved using transferred knowledge from offshore oil and gas structures. There is a need for better understanding of the special dynamic behaviour and challenge related to wind turbine structure and foundation systems in the offshore environment. This project will provide an analytical reliability model to identify, analyse and evaluate the impacts of different types of uncertainties on condition assessment and monitoring of wind turbine foundations based on their sensor system, damage sensitive parameters, damage identification techniques, and system reliability index.

Project Poster

Academic supervisors: Prof. Feargal Brennan, Prof Athanasios Kolios

Luc Simonin

Luc is a civil and geotechnical engineer. He studied in two top French engineering schools: graduating from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées, he studied civil engineering for his MSc at Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. During his MSc, Luc specialised in geo-technical engineering and in finite element modelling of underground civil works (master thesis). He also accomplished an ERASMUS semester at TU Delft (The Netherlands) where his interest for offshore wind grew. His research activities will encompass theoretical mechanics, numerical implementation and finite element modelling. Luc is funded by Ørsted and is enrolled at Oxford University for his DPhil.

Thesis title: Theoretical Developments for Soil Behaviour Under Cyclic Loading

Project description: Monopile foundations for offshore wind turbines are subjected to cyclic lateral loading from waves and wind. To characterise the behaviour of an offshore wind turbine, modelling of the soil is essential, especially its stiffness, strength and damping properties, as well as their evolution with cycles. To properly represent the behaviour of saturated sand under cyclic loading, a constitutive model in effective stress is being developed in the hyperplastic framework. The objective is to accurately reproduce the evolution of stress-strain cycles and pore-pressure, and to validate this model against laboratory and field test data.

Project Poster

Academic supervisor: Prof. Byron Byrne