Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

C-AIM offers various opportunities for outstanding students and researchers who have proven their academic and research prowess and would like to pursue master's degrees, doctoral degrees, or post-doctoral research. Funding for post-graduate studies and post-doctoral research is available on a competitive basis:

Master's degree studies:   R(ZAR): 85 000/annum for two years

Doctoral degree studies:   R(ZAR): 110 000/annum for three years

Post-doctoral research: ca.R(ZAR): 200 000/annum for approximately two years

C-AIM welcomes visiting researchers who would like to work in the centre during sabbatical leave periods. Visiting researchers will usually be funded by own institutions but will get access to world class facilities in an established research team, and participate in established or new research programmes.

Typical research foci currently include:


Design for reliability

  • Finite element modelling of complex structures (such as electrical machinery, composite structures or turbomachinery blades).
  • Experimental validation and updating of complex finite element models. For this purpose scanning laser vibrometry and digital imaging correlation is typically used.
  • Develop methodologies for boiler tube modelling for understanding tube failures.
  • Development of response reconstruction techniques for durability testing of plant assets, vehicles and components, using servo-hydraulic actuators. This enables experimental validation of structural integrity against shock, vibration and usage load, and experimental determination of failure modes, life expectancy, the effect of design changes on life, dynamic response, etc.
  • Non-linear response reconstruction testing using multiple servo-hydraulic actuators.
  • Development of materials models.
  • Dynamic design of materials handling equipment.

Data aquisitioning  

  • Non-contact sensors for turbomachine condition monitoring
  • Acoustic emissions in specialist condition monitoring applications.

Condition monitoring

  • Develop condition monitoring techniques for rotating machines under varying operating conditions, which are robust enough for in-field implementation.
  • Develop enhanced methodologies for turbomachine blade tip time of arrival measurements and blade damage diagnostics.
  • Optimising on-line condition monitoring and inspection techniques in turbogenerators and transformers.
  • Develop condition monitoring techniques for rotating equipment such as mills and slurry pumps.


  • Develop computational models for turbo-generator rotor and journal bearing dynamic behaviour. These models will be used to establish diagnostic and prognostic models for linking anomalies in the measured rotor response to developing faults which could be observed with existing standard instrumentation and sophisticated signal processing techniques.
  • New diagnostics methods for specialised problems such as slew bearings, or fluctuating load and speed gearboxes.


  • Development of statistics, machine learning as well as physics-based approaches to remaining useful life problems. Our interest spans from machine components to complex systems such as steam turbines.
  • Development of methods for establishing remaining useful life of piping systems.

Life cycle management

  • Development of criteria for establishing end of life of critical plant.
  • Development of optimised risk based inspection methods.
  • Development of optimised maintenance schedules.

Load inputs

  • Develop appropiate inverse methods to establish input forces in specialised applications such as mining machine or truck dynamics applications.

Please contact C-AIM if you are interested to pursue any of these opportunities further.

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