Mentoring is an important part of the development and training for all OFFshore ITRH personnel. We strive to have mentoring relationships within academia and industry and for these relationships to be mutually beneficial. For our mentors from industry, mentoring offers a great insight into the university and of the research we undertake.

If you’d like to inquire about being part of our mentoring program please contact us.

Postgraduate Studies

The OFFshore ITRH is currently seeking high quality candidates who are interested in commencing PhD studies in 2017. Available topics are listed below:

  • Project OneInternal tide and soliton forcing on the Australian North West Shelf –  The project will use field observations of soliton events to assess the induced mean flow, turbulence, and the occurrence frequency of events. This information will be used to investigate the induced loading on both through-the-water column structures and sub-sea architecture, plus sediment re-suspension and the resultant turbidity. You will work closely with associated numerical modelling work being undertaken as part of the broader project.
  • Project Two: Greenwater loading on topside structures for FPSOs – This project will use numerical and experimental modelling to investigate the structural loads that result from greenwater (i.e. water shipped onto a vessel) in large ocean waves. The work will draw on other research within the hub focused on simulating water over-topping onto a vessel, but will focus on understanding the movement of the water once it is on the deck; particularly, how greenwater interacts with different arrangements of structures on the deck of typical Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. The project outcomes will be (i) an improved understanding of greenwater-structure interaction, and (ii) better guidance on the appropriate pressure coefficients to be used in the assessment of greenwater loads on topside structures.
  • Project Two: Roll damping of FLNG carriers during side-by-side offloading – This project will use computational fluid dynamics and experimental modelling to investigate the roll response of Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) carriers during side-by-side offloading. Understanding this roll response is important to predict when safe offloading can be undertaken. The analysis will extend classical work on roll damping of ships to account for (i) nearby vessels, (ii) various bilge keel details, and (iii) sloshing in the tanks of the carrier during off-loading. The project will aim to determine accurate roll damping coefficients for use in engineering models which may be used to estimate offloading operability. The outputs will be compared with full scale field data.
  • Project Three: Modelling of steel catenary riser touchdown zones – A critical enabling technology for floating offshore oil and gas projects is the development of large diameter steel catenary risers, for export of processed hydrocarbons (oil or gas) from the floating facility down to the seabed pipeline. Riser design is currently hampered by uncertain fatigue assessment within the seabed touchdown zone (TDZ), where large trenches can be eroded leading to significant variations in the static and dynamic riser stresses. Uncertainty and potential over-conservatism in the conventional design method arises from neglecting the whole life response of the seabed within the TDZ, where changes in strength and topography lead to progressive migration and potentially mitigation of fatigue ‘hot spots’. This project will pursue three themes to improve the reliability of risers (i) trench erosion: creation of coupled hydrodynamic-geotechnical TDZ erosion models, (ii) trench hardening: creation of coupled remoulding-consolidation seabed stiffness models, and (iii) integration of trenching models into riser software for design, with simple screening tools.  The project contains a strong experimental component using the newly established 10 m diameter centrifuge and helping our team in the development of a floating structure simulator to be used for physical modelling. It will also include a numerical component, using software regularly used by industry (such as OrcaFlex).
  • Project FourWhole life response of foundations for subsea infrastructure (Geotechnics) – This project will investigate the whole life response of foundations for subsea infrastructure by considering the changing strength of the seabed in response to the loading regime over the field life. The project will apply a whole-life seabed strength philosophy to both traditional static subsea foundations and to tolerably mobile subsea foundations, which challenge the traditional paradigm that foundations should remain stationary. The project outcomes will lead to reduced foundation footprints for subsea structures, easing installation and reducing costs. Applicants with a background in numerical or physical modelling are encouraged to apply.
  • Project FourIntegrated system design of foundations for subsea infrastructure (Geotechnics/Structures) – This project will address a more holistic approach to foundation design for subsea structures through realistic representation of loads across the design interfaces between the geotechnical/ pipeline/ structural components, allowing for compliance of the system in relieving displacement sensitive loads associated with thermal expansion of pipelines. The project outcomes will lead to reduced foundation footprints for subsea structures, easing installation and reducing costs. Applicants with a background in numerical or physical modelling are encouraged to apply.
  • Project Four: Integrated system design for novel subsea anchors and moorings (Geotechnics) – This project will consider the interactions between mooring chains and novel anchors developed to secure offshore floating facilities. Significant lengths of the mooring chains can be in contact with the seabed, potentially providing substantial additional resistance that could allow the anchors to be reduced in size, if the contribution of the chain to the overall system capacity can be predicted. The embedded section of the chain forms an inverse catenary in the seabed when the mooring chain is tensioned. Understanding the shape of the inverse catenary, and how this changes over the whole life of the facility, is an important prerequisite for anchor design. In operation, the strength of the seabed changes – often rising due to consolidation induced hardening – leading to further increases in anchor system capacity. This project will involve experimental and analytical modelling of the chain-anchor interaction, leading to the development of a simple design methodology that can capture the influence of the system interactions and the changing strength of the seabed.
  • Project FourOptimising anchor design to promote diving under extreme loading (Geotechnics) – During extreme loading – such as storm events – effective anchor designs will dive deeper into the seabed to maintain the anchor system capacity. Optimising the geometry of anchors to promote diving for realistic loading scenarios is critical to assessing the adequacy of anchor systems for offshore floating facilities. The influence of the changing strength of the seabed – which typically rises due to consolidation hardening – on the anchor dive trajectories, must also be considered for the proposed life of the facility. Furthermore, quantifying changes to the mooring line tension and stiffness brought about during anchor diving is of importance for the mooring design. This project will involve experimental and numerical modelling of anchor response for varying load scenarios for novel anchor geometries previously developed at UWA, leading to the development of a simple analytical tool to assess the adequacy of subsea anchor systems under extremal loading.
  • Project Four: Field testing of the whole-life performance of subsea mudmat foundations (Geotechnics) – This project will assess the adequacy of design methodologies for predicting the performance of subsea mudmat foundations via field tests. A large scale instrumented model of a subsea mudmat foundation will be developed and trialed at onshore and/or offshore locations with soil conditions of direct relevance to WA’s offshore energy industry.  A system will be designed to apply long term, low frequency cyclic loading to the model foundation, simulating the operation of a subsea oil and gas extraction/processing system in-situ. Comprehensive site investigations will be performed in parallel and used to develop ‘class A’ predictions of the system performance that will be compared to the field measurements in order to assess the adequacy of the design methodologies developed within the OFFshore ITRH.

Further information is available here.