PhD Scholarship: Reducing concrete corrosion in sewers through humidity control

Conduct a PhD under the supervision of Prof Zhiguo Yuan AM, Join a University ranked in the world's top 50, Located at our picturesque St Lucia Campus.

Advanced Water Management Centre

The Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in innovative water technology and management. We deliver six interlinked programs namely, next generation urban water technologies, integrated urban water management, sewer corrosion and odour management, nexus of urban water, health and environment, resource efficient agri-industry and environmental biotechnology.

The centre has strong collaborative linkages with industry and an outstanding academic publication record, publishing on average more than 100 papers a year in high quality journals including the most prestigious multidisciplinary journals including Nature and Science, and top discipline journals such as Water Research and Environmental Science and Technologies.

Project Background

Sewer systems are valuable infrastructures that have been established by continuous public investment for more than a century. However, concrete corrosion is a costly deteriorating process affecting sewer systems worldwide. The rehabilitation and replacement of damaged sewers involves extremely high costs. Various technologies have been developed to control or mitigate the Microbially Induced Concrete Corrosion (MICC) in sewers, including pipe coating and lining, in-sewer chemical dosing and ventilation. While pipe coating/lining and in-sewer chemical dosing have attracted substantial research over recent decades, the effects of ventilation on corrosion control by decreasing H2S levels and humidity has not been well established. Besides, the current corrosion models used to predict sewer corrosion rates and service life are not reliable, thus an advanced mechanistic corrosion process model is highly needed. 

Led by Prof Zhiguo Yuan AM, an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, the sewer research team at the AWMC is an international leader in sewer corrosion control, with 20 years research experience in this field. The team has to date undertaken over $10m research in this field, in collaboration with numerous water utilities in Australia and overseas. The team has published over 150 papers on sewer corrosion in prestigious journals including Science, Water Research and Environmental Science and Technology.

The award

An opportunity exists for an outstanding [link removed]PhD candidate to investigate the effects of humidity on H2S-induced concrete corrosion in sewers based on laboratory corrosion chamber studies. The PhD candidate will undertake the long-term, in-depth study of H2S-induced concrete corrosion, by using multidisciplinary methodologies involving environmental, chemical, material and microbiological analysis. The PhD candidate will play a key role in understanding the underpinning science to control concrete corrosion by reducing humidity levels in sewers, establishing an advanced mathematical concrete corrosion process model to predict corrosion rates and pipe service life, and developing practical ventilation strategies for sewer corrosion control. The expected outcomes from this training will equip the student with comprehensive research skills and knowledge for not only sewer corrosion prevention but also the integral management of the holistic sewer systems. Ample opportunities exist for the student to work with water utilities including Melbourne Water Corporation, Urban Utilities, Western Australia Water Corporation and DC Water (US). The lab-based fundamental study and the collaboration experience with industry will help the PhD candidate to launch a successful career in either academia or industry. 

Selection Criteria

The successful applicant will require to have a background of a Master or Honour Degree (IIA or above), in environmental, civil or chemical engineering, or biotechnology related to water/wastewater infrastructure or treatment

Preferably with experience in water laboratories

Preferably with knowledge regarding material corrosion and the analysis methods such as scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and microbial analysis

Preferably with experience in modelling


The 2020 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD $28,092 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply). Click here further information on this scholarship.

How to apply

Please discuss your interest in this project and your prior research experience with Dr Eloise Larsen in the first instance.

Applications Close: 30 July 2020 at 11:00 pm AEST

16/06/2020 $0 Brisbane 1 Engineering
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