Mining is a huge industry that accounts for a very significant share of global energy consumption, with rock comminution being responsible for – at least – half of the total energy expenditure. There is, consequently, a strong need to develop innovative energy-efficient mining techniques, and this proposal will focus on this major opportunity.
A physically-based constitutive framework for anisotropic cracking of heterogeneous rocks will be developed, laying the scientific foundations for micromechanical modelling of rock fracture. The model will embed the mechanisms governing cracking of heterogeneous rocks in a novel and interdisciplinary approach. The complementary profile of the applicant and the host group is a strong asset, with their previous experience in micromechanics and fracture establishing the basis to successfully overcome the theoretical, numerical and experimental challenges of the project. The proposal builds upon the applicant’s background and involves new research areas, widening his competences and supporting development to academic maturity.
An appropriate work plan has been programmed to achieve the scientific objectives and ensure knowledge transfer. Milestones and deliverables have been established to monitor the progress of the project implementation and pertinent corrective measures projected. A detailed dissemination strategy has been proposed to communicate findings to the general public, and to increase the impact of the research outcomes in the scientific community and engineering practice.
The Cambridge Centre for Micromechanics provides an optimum environment for the project, containing the facilities required to perform the indispensable critical experiments and advanced numerical simulations. Moreover, it constitutes a unique platform to develop international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary recognition, supporting the applicant in achieving a breakthrough that will significantly impact his scientific career.
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