Kirigami-based energy dissipating devices for seismic protection of structures

This project will use kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting, to design and construct efficient energy-dissipating elements to improve the performance of structures under severe seismic ground motions.

Start date

1 October 2022


3 years

Application deadline

Funding source

Departmental funded PhD position – Civil and Environmental Engineering

Funding information

The scholarship covers a stipend and UK home fees. Excellent international students can be considered for an international scholarship on a competitive basis. Candidates may also cover the difference between home and international fees.


Kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting, can be used to generate complex morphing 3D shapes from a 2D sheet. Children’s pop-up books are a familiar example. This technique has been used by engineers to generate novel compliant and deployable structures. The shape and mechanical properties of kirigami-based structures are designed by the strategic arrangement of cuts.

Energy-dissipating devices have a wide range of applications ranging from fall arrest systems and product packaging to blast shelters. In structural engineering energy dissipating devices are used for seismic, blast, and impact protection. This project will use the principles of kirigami to design optimized energy-dissipating devices for seismic protection of structures. The project will use a combination of analytical calculation, simulation, and experiments.

The applicant should have a background in Civil/Structural or Mechanical Engineering with strong results in mechanics and mathematics. Familiarity or interest in structural dynamics/earthquake engineering, laboratory testing, origami/kirigami, and/or relevant software such as Matlab, Mathematica, and Abaqus are an asset.

Dr Martin Walker is a Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Surrey. His research interests are in structural mechanics, specifically the mechanics of thin shells, origami, and kirigami. He is also interested in topics related to blast-resistant design, particularly the development of new energy-dissipating blast protection systems.

Professor Subhamoy Bhattacharya (Suby) holds the chair in Geomechanics at the University of Surrey. His research interests include foundation design in seismic areas and foundations for offshore structures and wind turbines.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to complete an application to the University of Surrey and to satisfy its entry requirements. They should have a good (2:1/First) undergraduate degree in Civil/Structural or Mechanical Engineering (4 Years MEng).

English language requirements

Applicants should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with no sub-test of less than 6. For further information see the language requirements webpage.

How to apply

Interested applicants are encouraged to discuss the project with Dr Walker ( before applying.

Applications should be submitted via the Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD

Studentship FAQs

Read our studentship FAQs to find out more about applying and funding.

Application deadline

Contact details

Martin Walker
24 AA 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686290

Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.