PhD Studentship: The aerodynamics of roofs comprising layers of variable permeabilities

Birmingham, United Kingdom
Jun 17, 2018
Jun 29, 2018
Social Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Type
PhD / Doctoral


This project will entail computational fluid dynamics, careful measurements and detailed analyses to build on limited existing research(1) and generate design information to fill prevailing gaps in knowledge. It will thus span the full spectrum of research, from fundamental studies to the development of design information for implementation in recognised design standards, specifically British Standards(2,3) and related European Standards. It has direct industrial relevance to domestic housing, and there will be industrial involvement in the project.

It will study the flow of air through zones bounded by layers of varying air permeabilities, driven by external fluctuating wind pressures. The zones are those that comprise a conventional house roof: the rooms, the loft, and the batten-space; the layers are the ceiling, the underlay, and the tiles or slates. The questions to be addressed are the magnitudes of the loads on the different layers, and the effective ventilation of each zone (to combat condensation formation). The driving mechanisms are the external wind, and thermal buoyancy (when wind is negligible). Wind pressures vary according to wind speeds, roof geometry, and site location. They vary spatially across the roof, and temporally.

The research is intended to identify the share of wind load across the ceiling, the underlay and the roof tiles, according to the relevant physical parameters applying to each layer and according to the constructional details, and to indentify the risks of condensation formation in the loft space and batten-space, again according to the relevant parameters.


Funding Notes

There is a competitive funding opportunity for a bursary if an applicant is one of the best students who apply across the school (for many different projects). This is highly competitive and would, at best, only partially cover overseas student registration fees. Paid work in the UK during a full-time degree is restricted to a maximum number of hours per week and therefore is unlikely to cover what is required. Therefore an independent source of funding is required for overseas students from outside the EU.


1. ROBERTSON, A.P.; HOXEY, R.P.; RIDEOUT, N.M.; FREATHY, P. Full-scale study of wind loads on roof tiles and felt underlay and comparisons with design data. Wind & Structures, 2007 10 (6) 495-510
2. BS 5534:2014. Slating and tiling for pitched roofs and vertical cladding – Code of practice
3. BS 5250:2011+ A1:2016. Code of practice for condensation in buildings