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IK4 Doctorados



Research aimed at the development of people  and transfer of the most advanced technologies for companies.



Prediction of remaining useful life for fatigue-damaged structures


START: 09/2017




A condition monitoring system that supervises the local stresses produced by mechanical loads at certain critical components is of great interest in order to obtain an accurate fatigue life prediction of industrial machinery under real operations.

The placement of strain gauges at these critical components would allow capturing the real strain/stress at the foreseen critical points. For different reasons, it is not always industrially feasible to install a strain gauge at each critical location, being located a set of additional sensors in other parts of the machine structure. Hence, the complete set of sensors will give an indication of the real loading of the machinery.

Finite Element (FE) models are used to identify the most stressed points (critical points) of the system and estimate the stresses at any location of interest under some uncertain assumptions. FE model stress estimation will be closer to the reality depending on the modeling approach, loading and displacement condition characterization, etc. Hence, based on the combination of available sensor data (strain gauges and accelerometers) and FE models, a method is required to estimate the stress at all the required critical points (virtual sensors).

The work of the PhD candidate is hence oriented to:
 Identify different methods to obtain the stress as a real time transfer function at certain critical points combining available sensor data and FE models.
o Study the uncertainty sources (sensor data measurements, FE model stress estimation) associated to the stress evaluation.
o Select a type of sensor and the location for the proposed use cases.
 Perform numerical studies for a basic use case / test specimen
 Analyze existing test data
 Check the correlation between the estimated stress value and the real measurement at certain locations where additional strain gauges have been applied for validation purposes.
 Evaluate under uncertain conditions the remaining useful life
 Define a suitable methodology to be applied in a real industrial use case

Department or unit of the Associates Technology Center

Control and monitoring

Investigation line

Advanced manufacturing

Start date planned


Obtaining date of the doctor degree



Required Degree: Industrial Engineering, Automation and Industrial Electronics Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering, Degree in Physics, Degree in Mathematics.

Any knowledge of physical system modelling tools, such as Dymola or Matlab/Simulink will be an advantage. Any knowledge of signal processing in a Matlab environment will be an advantage. Any prior experience in the use of signal acquisition systems (Brüel & Kjaer, National Instrument, Oros, etc.) will be an advantage.

Languages: Oral and written fluency in the English language. Knowledge of the Basque language, and other languages such as German or French, will be an advantage.

Autonomy, creativity, communication skills. Ability to build relationships and work in a team. Proactivity, responsibility and commitment, while facing challenging situations.

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