Development of test protocols for rugby garments using synthetic tissue test-beds
Deadline for applications: 31 July 2017
Subsistence: A tax-free stipend of at least £17,000 per annum for four years
Reader in Mechanical Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Sheffield
T: 44 +114 2227839
The successful PhD candidate will assist in the review of World Rugby Regulation 12 (Padded Clothing), working closely with team members from World Rugby, University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University. They will be responsible for investigating the best way to mechanically simulate scenarios which can lead to cuts and abrasions using tests with representative skin and tissue simulants. They will develop standard test methodologies to better assess garments for prevention of skin tissue damage, while also limiting impact energy attenuation, through the development and use of new synthetic tissue test-beds.
The PhD study will be based at the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Polymers, Soft Matter and Colloids at the University of Sheffield. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to work closely with world-class academics at the University of Sheffield and also with World Rugby and their partner companies. The training programme as part of the CDT includes:
- A tax-free stipend of at least £17,000 per annum for four years
- An intensive one-week training course in Polymer Science
- Annual residential summer school in Years 1 and 2
- Business Enterprise module comprising 12 interactive workshops in Year 2
- Funds to visit an overseas academic institution
- Six-month secondment with World Rugby partner companies
Specific Requirements of the Project
- A 1st or 2:1 degree in chemistry, physics, engineering, materials science or other relevant discipline.
- UK Home tuition fee status
- Genuine enthusiasm for both fundamental and applied research
- An enquiring mind and excellent scientific understanding
- An interest in real-world problems
Project Background, Aims and Objectives
World Rugby are looking to revise and update their Regulation 12 (Padded Clothing) to better reflect modern advances in materials, technologies and playing style. The padded clothing aspects of Regulation 12 were devised in the late 90’s when rugby was only newly professional at the time, and although the game has changed considerably during this timeframe, the Regulation has remained the same. World Rugby have formed a research team responsible for the revision and creation of a new, updated Regulation 12. The research team will consist of academics and two PhD students, one based at University of Sheffield (as advertised) and the other at Manchester Metropolitan University of Sheffield. Both PhD students will undertake fundamental research that will inform the requirements for the new Regulation.
The aim of the proposed PhD at Sheffield is to use synthetic skin and tissue simulants to develop appropriate test protocols for the assessment of padded clothing for the prevention of cuts and abrasion injuries in rugby, while also limiting impact energy attenuation. The objectives are as follows:
1. To review current literature relating to injury mechanisms in rugby, damage to human tissue and the development of synthetic test beds; identify the loading mechanisms that cause cuts and abrasions in rugby; review existing test methods.
2. To characterise the properties of candidate materials for synthetic skin and tissue simulants; develop and validate a synthetic test bed and testing protocol to assess the mechanical interaction of protective clothing using appropriate loading conditions.
3. To develop a new test protocol which is more appropriate for assessing protection against cuts and abrasions whilst limiting impact attentuation; assess the method for efficacy, taking into account pilot testing carried out in test houses; determine the best means of regulating padded clothing in rugby through the use of the new test protocol.