PhD Position Reliability/Risk-Based Modelling for Assessing Railway Embankment Stability

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 12 Sep 2022

The current reliability framework for the stability assessment of railway embankments is derived from the general-purpose Eurocode standards that may be overly conservative in their implementation in the current guideline. This project will contribute to developing a new framework, by revisiting the approach to achieving target safety levels for railway embankments and the underlying assumptions from the Eurocode standards. It will include consideration of full and semi-probabilistic approaches, partial factors, characteristic values, target reliability levels, fragility curves, various data sources and real-time modelling, and builds on the advances made by TU Delft in assessing flood defence infrastructure through the NWO project Reliable Dykes.

This project aims to: (a) enhance the reliability/risk-based framework, which is tailored to the characteristics of loads and resistances in Dutch railway embankments, through advanced probabilistic modelling techniques; (b) account for the site characterisation of embankments and subsoil layers, including the statistical characterisation of geometric and geologic features, and the spatial variability of soil properties within soil layers; (c) perform 2D and 3D numerical modelling of embankment reliability, leading to the development of 3D stochastic (e.g. Random Finite Element Method) models for reliability-based assessments of embankment stability and allowing for material behaviours including creep and strain localization; (d) develop and validate numerical tools for application in engineering practice.

The project will be done in close collaboration with other projects within the research program RESET – “Reliable Embankments for the Safe Expansion of Rail Traffic” – a joint initiative between ProRail, Deltares and TU Delft.

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