PhD Studentship in Museum Objects: Vibration Exposure In Transit

University of Southampton School of Engineering

United Kingdom

PhD Studentship - Museum Objects: Vibration Exposure In Transit (MOVE IT)

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Friday 26 March 2021
Reference:  1337121DA

Supervisory Team:    Tim Waters, Thomas Blumensath, Verena Kotonski, Carl Heron (British Museum)

Project description

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to research the impact of vibration on museum objects. This is an interdisciplinary and prestigious Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between The British Museum and the University of Southampton, and will involve periods of study at both institutions under their joint supervision.

Artefacts are frequently moved within and between museums and are consequently exposed to vibration and shock during transit. This project aims to quantify the effects of vibration and shock on 3D museum objects, provide a scientifically informed framework by which objects are judged fit to travel, and investigate the applicability of advanced technologies for vibration and shock isolatio.

Museum objects take varied geometrical forms, comprise a plethora of materials and feature many fabrication processes. In most cases, damage already exists in the form of delamination or cracks that can grow when stimulated by vibration and shock. The project will begin by surveying and categorising typical artefacts based on their likely vibration response. An experimentally based mathematical model will then be developed to predict the vibration response of 3D objects to stimuli such as those experienced during manual handling or road and air transport.

Vibration tests will be performed on sacrificial objects or material samples to induce failure. State-of-the-art imaging technologies such as high resolution , will be used to monitor damage growth. Knowledge of typical stimuli in transit, the resulting response of artefacts, and their potential for damage, will be combined to develop an empirical tool for collections care professionals.

 You will join the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at the University, which has been advancing the understanding of noise and vibration and their effects for nearly 60 years. You will also be embedded in The British Museum’s Collection Care Department, spending extended periods of time under the co-supervision of an experienced conservator. You will have exclusive access to collections facilitated by expert staff and gain detailed insights into museum processes.

Key Facts

Applicants will have a Masters’ degree, or Bachelors’ degree plus equivalent experience. Ideally this will be in engineering or physics, although heritage science graduates with level 3 maths and physics qualifications will also be considered. We welcome applications from all backgrounds and for full or part-time study.

 Closing date: 26th March 2021.

Funding: This studentship is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. A tax-free stipend of £16,835 per annum is available for 3.75 years, with the possibility of extending to 4 years. Additionally, fees will be covered at the UK rate. Non-UK applicants are eligible but will need to fund the difference between UK and non-UK fees, currently about £20,000 per annum.

A significant budget is available for project costs such as travel, and you will have access to personal development funding, for example to undertake placements or extensive field work.

 How To Apply

Apply online. Select (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page “PhD  Engineering and the Environment”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor, Dr Tim Waters.

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

 For further information please contact: 



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