Design, analysis and evaluation of robust dampers for controlling wind turbine vibrations throughout their lifecycle

Research projects

Project Description:

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. The successful applicant will undertake a PG-Dip training year at the University of Hull and will continue their PhD research at the University of Sheffield.

Watch our short video to hear from Aura CDT students, academics and industry partners:

The Project

Large wind turbines show a high degree of flexibility making them vulnerable to instability and vibration-induced damage. This project addresses this problem by creating new damper systems that increase the robustness of the main structural components to resonant vibration.

Wind turbines create special challenges for damper systems because they need to function over a wide range of temperatures and wind speeds whilst surviving transient and impact loading from many different sources. They need to operate for long periods of time under relatively harsh environmental conditions. Additionally, maintenance of wind turbines is demanding because of access difficulties related to their location and size. Damping systems for large wind turbines therefore need to be adaptable and durable.

Important research questions that have not been answered to date include:

  1. How does one evaluate the effectiveness of damping applied to a large wind turbine?
  2. What type of damping is most suitable for a large wind turbine and how might it be deployed in an efficient way?
  3. How might one assess the durability of a damper that cannot be built and tested at full scale due to cost limitations?

This project will provide answers for each of these.

The initial stage will be to develop a sufficiently detailed numerical test bed using finite element software with some multi-physics capability. This is most likely to be a large wind turbine blade. This will allow the fair comparison of dampers employing different approaches including low wave-speed material, geometrically nonlinear polymer TMDs, air films, eddy current and fibre-based dampers along with less developed concepts. The second phase of the research will involve developing the most promising approach to allow for the specifics of the application considering the environmental demands and the alteration of conditions such as the change in blade natural frequencies depending on rotation speed and position within one cycle.

This work will be supported by suitable experimental studies involving vibration and cyclic loading under many different conditions. This can be conducted with lab-scale equipment rather than a full-size turbine by using numerical analyses to supplement results in an appropriate manner.


For more information visit If you have a direct question about the project, you may email or the project supervisor.


Training and skills

The student will be provided training in structural dynamics, nonlinear / multiphysics finite element analysis and various experimental procedures related to vibration testing of nonlinear systems and durability testing of unusual materials. These will be delivered in house, also using online facilities where available. They will also have access to modules within the Faculty of Engineering (in Sheffield) where relevant. This research is in a growing area which and can provide strong publications for someone considering an academic career. However, as the research involves extensive design and mechanical analysis activities, this PhD would be an excellent preparation for someone keen for a role in high-technology engineering or consultancy.


Entry requirements

This PhD research project is suitable for applicants with a background in Engineering or Physics. If you have received a First-class Honours degree OR a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters OR a Distinction in a Masters Degree, with any Undergraduate Degree, in one of the above subjects, (or the international equivalents,) we would like to hear from you.

If your first language is not English, or you require Tier 4 student visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency level that meets the requirements of the Aura CDT’s academic partners. This course requires academic IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each skill.



The Aura CDT is funded by the EPSRC and NERC, allowing us to provide scholarships that cover fees plus a stipend set at the UKRI nationally agreed rates, circa £17,668 per annum at 2022/23 rates (subject to progress).



Research Council funding for postgraduate research has residence requirements. Our Aura CDT scholarships are available to Home (UK) Students. To be considered a Home student, and therefore eligible for a full award, a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the scholarship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education). For full eligibility information, please refer to the EPSRC website. Please note, we have already allocated all our places for International Students to this cohort, so please do not apply unless you are a Home student.


How to apply

Recruitment is open until 16 April 2023 for Aura CDT PhD Scholarships beginning study in September 2023.

Applications are made via the University of Hull admissions system.

If you have not applied with the University of Hull before, you will need to set up an account to enable you to track the progress of your application and upload supporting documents.

With your application, you need to upload copies of the following supporting evidence:

  • complete transcripts (and final degree certificate(s) where possible). If your qualification documents are not in English, you will need to supply copies of your original language documents as well as their official translation into English.
  • A completed Supplementary Application Form (please upload when asked to add Personal Statement).

Guidance on completing your Supplementary Application Form: The Aura Centre for Doctoral Training is committed to generating a diverse and inclusive training programme. As part of our inclusive practices, the Centre adopts a process of assessing applications purely based on skills and attributes and does not consider any personal details. As such we ask applicants to remove any personal details from the Supplementary Form which is used by the Panel to assess and select applicants for interview. The form asks for details of your education, training and employment history as well as some specific questions about your motivations and research experience and interests. It is very important that you do not include any personally identifying information.

Applicants must:

Remove all personal references in their application. Specifically, do not include the following details: Names, age, country, sex, gender, religion, disability, race, sexual orientation

Complete all sections of the form in font and size Calibri 11pt

Indicate your interest in applying to a maximum of two Research Projects (you may apply for one or two, but no more than two)

Once fully completed, you should upload the form when asked for your Personal Statement, as part of your application through the University of Hull student application portal using the links below. (You will also be asked for your degree transcripts during the application process). Please do not send your form directly to the Aura CDT.


Application links:

Apply for a full-time PhD Scholarship with the Aura CDT.

Apply for a part-time PhD Scholarship with the Aura CDT.



A] Vibration Damping, 1985, Nashif, Jones and Henderson

[B] Handbook of viscoelastic vibration damping, 2001, D I Jones

[C] Asker, Rongong, & Lord, 2018, Dynamic properties of unbonded, multi-strand beams subjected to flexural loading. Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 101, 168-181. doi:10.1016/j.ymssp.2017.08.028

View our webinar recording from 29 November
for information on our 2023 PhD Scholarships

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