PhD on "Predictive modelling of interfaces in fiber-reinforced thermoplastics"

Applied MathsMaterials Science and EngineeringMechanical Engineering
Sep 05, 2023 21:59:00 GMT+00:00
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Qualification Details

Talented, enthusiastic candidates with excellent analytical and communication skills holding a university degree (MSc, with high grades) in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science or Applied Mathematics are encouraged to apply. A strong interest in mechanics of materials is required. Experience in multi-scale modelling, micromechanics, and experimental mechanics are of benefit.

Responsibilities/Job Description

The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has the following vacancy

PhD student "Predictive modelling of interfaces in fiber-reinforced thermoplastics"

in the section Processing and Performances of Materials, Department of Mechanical Engineering>

The PhD student position is available in the section Polymer Technology, and will be supervised by prof. Leon Govaert, and dr. Hans van Dommelen.

Section description

The research activities of the section Processing and Performances of Materials concentrate on the fundamental understanding of various macroscopic problems in the processing and use of polymer components and products. An important challenge is the establishment of a direct link from processing conditions to mechanical performance; a task that requires the combination of a number of vastly different disciplines, including elements of computational rheology, solid-state rheology, and polymer physics and mechanics. The section has a unique research infrastructure, both from an experimental and computational perspective. The Mechanical Testing Lab offers a large capacity of testing equipment for short-term (impact) and long-term testing (static and cyclic fatigue).

Fiber-reinforced semi-crystalline thermoplastics

Thermoplastic composites offer the potential for lightweight solutions, can be produced rapidly and also can be recycled effectively. Micromechanical prediction of the performance of thermoplastic composite parts requires an interface model that accurately captures the short and long‐term performance of interfaces formed in assembly.  The thermoplastic matrix gives rise to two different failure mechanisms; one plasticity controlled, governing the mechanical response on short time scales, and the other crack‐growth controlled, responsible for damage evolution and failure on long time scales (fatigue). An essential challenge is the prediction of the development of the interfacial strength during processing; both for short‐term, as well as long‐term loading. For the unfilled matrix, only a limited amount of interdiffusion is required to enable co‐crystallization, resulting in a fast evolution of the fracture toughness to the ultimate level of the bulk. However, the interfacial fatigue resistance is then still far inferior to that of the bulk performance. The long‐term performance clearly develops on a different (larger) time scale, and bulk performance is only fully restored when the entanglement network is fully recovered, requiring deeper interdiffusion. The kinetics of this interface healing should be captured and modelled to enable adequate prediction of the interfacial fatigue performance on the basis of the fusion conditions.

Aim of the PhD project

This project aims at developing a constitutive interface model that adequately captures the fatigue crack growth kinetics of the interphase region focusing on the influence of maximum load, stress ratio and frequency in different modes. Starting point will be the characterization of the fatigue crack growth kinetics of the matrix over the time scales required. This component is essential for the micromechanical simulations of the composite. The development of the interface crack growth resistance during fusion in the process of healing of matrix‐matrix interfaces, and in interfaces formed by welding, is a critical component that will be experimentally evaluated for the main joining techniques. The outcome will be a cohesive zone-type matrix interface model that can be fed with input on processing conditions to predict the local interface performance.

The simulations will be validated on the weld tests performed here, where different weld conditions, affecting the interface properties are considered.

How to Apply?

Application Method: online_applicationRef. No. V35.6781

Application Procedure

We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.Application documents (in PDF format) must contain:

  • Letter of motivation, detailed curriculum vitae including photograph.
  • Transcripts of BSc and MSc degrees (with grades).
  • And contact information of two potential referees.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it.Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. Curious to hear more about what it’s like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.

Contact Details

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact prof. Leon Govaert, l.e.govaert[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HRAdvicesME[at]

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.