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Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

C-AIM offers various opportunities for student 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:

Identification of critical assets

  • Many companies operate a huge variety of assets with very diverse attributes. With limited recources it is imperative to focus on those assets that have the most significant impact on key performance indicators. C-AIM is currently very interested in aspects of the identification of critical assets.

Design for reliability

  • Finite element modeling of complex structures (such as electrical machinery or composite structures).
  • Experimental validation and updating of complex finite element models. For this purpose scanning laser vibrometry and digital imaging correlation is typically used.
  • Finite element modelling of the torsional dynamic behaviour of blade disks.
  • Develop methodologies for boiler tube modelling for understanding tube failures.
  • Develop boiler tube localised flaw sensitivity specifications.
  • Optimising of electro-static precipitator plate excitation for fly-ash separation.
  • 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, effect of design changes on life, dynamic response, etc.
  • Non-linear response reconstruction testing using multiple servo-hydraulic actuators.
  • Determination of material charactiristics of tubular structures using bulge tests.
  • Dynamic design of materials handling equipment.
  • Development of validated models for design of tanks with sloshing.
  • Balancing weight attachment methods in large installations.

Data aquisitioning  

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

Condition monitoring

  • Develop condition monitoring techniques which separate deterministic machine behaviour under widely fluctuating conditions, while at the same time are robust enough for in-field implementation.
  • Develop enhanced methodologies for turbomachine blade tip time of arrival measurements and blade damage diagnostics.
  • Optimising of on-line condition monitoring and inspection techniques in turbogenerators and transformers.
  • Develop condition monitoring techniques for coal mills.
  • Condition monitoring of 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 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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