PhD Position on Rethinking Glass Testing: Development of Novel Characterization Methods for Volumetric Cast Components Made of Recycled Glass

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Aug 28, 2023 21:59:00 GMT+00:00
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Interested in developing a new sustainable construction material made from recycled glass?  Join us in developing the new testing methods and design methods required for its safe and sustainable. 

Job description

Delft University of Technology is hiring a doctoral candidate on the “Rethinking glass testing: development of novel characterization methods for volumetric cast components made of recycled glass”. The PhD position is part of the NWO Open Technology UPCAST GLASS project, which aims to unlock the recycling potential of glass by providing a new recycling route, back to glass, for the significant majority of glass that is currently down-cycled or landfilled. Recent research at TU Delft has shown that this difficult-to-recycle glass can be successfully cast into volumetric glass components that can accommodate higher levels of defects and compositional differences. Yet, knowledge gaps in the casting process must be addressed and new characterisation methods need to be developed before recycled cast glass can become viable, engineered products. UPCAST GLASS addresses this by: exploring a novel casting process for recycled glass that accommodates recipe variations and contaminants from a broad range of waste glass streams; developing new methods for assessing the influence of defects in the engineered recycled glass components; and providing a database of material properties and design guidelines for recycling waste glass into high-value products. More information can be found in:

PhD topic in detail

You will focus on the development of novel characterization methods, and of the associated fracture mechanics and statistical data analysis for assessing the influence of (bulk) defects in voluminous cast glass components made of waste glass from various streams. Namely: (i) a 3D-scanning method for mapping and identifying defects and inhomogeneities in 3D glass elements; (ii) a novel uniaxial tensile test that subjects the cast glass specimen to a uniform tensile stress field, accompanied by the associated mathematical procedure for deriving the associated design strength; (iii) modifications to standard flexural strength and thermal shock testing methods. The developed methods will be tested in a variety of specimens, obtaining statistically verified design data. Thereafter, you will work together with the UPCAST GLASS team to establish an application-oriented database with mechanical properties of the recycled cast glass components towards their real-world applicability in the built environment.

You will hold an appointment at the Sustainable Architectural Materials & Structures (SAMS) Group (Restructgroup), Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology under the supervision of Prof. dr. Mauro Overend and dr. Faidra Oikonomopoulou and in close collaboration with the industrial partners of the project. The position is funded for a duration of 4 years, during which you will (i) undertake research on their PhD topics and (ii) assist with the educational and research agenda of UPCAST Glass and of the host group at the AE+T Department.


  • Masters degree in Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Civil / Structural Engineering, Building Technology, or related fields;
  • Masters thesis should be preferably related to the engineering, mechanical testing or recycling of glass or (brittle) materials
  • Strong background in structural mechanics and mechanical material testing, and at least in two more of the following aspects: structural design, fracture mechanics, numerical modelling of mechanical testing, defect identification, mechanical properties of recycled materials, failure statistics / reliability, microscopy; life-cycle-analysis (LCA) of materials;
  • Working knowledge or expertise in mechanical testing and modelling and physical, chemical and mechanical behaviour and properties of brittle materials, particularly of glass;
  • Excellent knowledge of mechanics of materials
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English evidenced by a minimum score of 100 in TOEFL or IELTS of 7.0 per sub-skill (writing, reading, listening, speaking). For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.
  • Teaching interest and/or experience in structural/architectural design and material selection courses.
  • Ability to work in a team, take initiative, and be results-oriented;
  • You enjoy performing research, including laboratory work. You are independent, self-motivated and eager to learn; you are keen to develop new fundamental knowledge and engineer novel solutions for addressing real-world societal challenges, particularly in the sustainable use of materials.
  • Optional: Experience with glass casting or blowing.
  • Optional: Working experience with structural glass.             

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on ‘design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings.

Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built

AE+T Department and the SAMS Group

The AE+T Department provides education and performs scientific research in the fields of architectural engineering / building technology. It positions itself as an important player in the integration of design and engineering. The core areas of interest are façade design, structural design, climate design and computational design with an important core focus on sustainability. The host group, Sustainable Architectural Materials & Structures (Prof. Mauro Overend) leads research and education on structural analysis and design in the Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment. The group is globally recognised for its research and expertize on glass strength, structural glass, glass recycling by casting and cast glass in architectural and structural applications. 

Additional information

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact prof. dr. Mauro Overend (, dr. Faidra Oikonomopoulou ( and dr. Telesilla Bristogianni ( 

More information on the UPCAST GLASS research can be found in: Upcast Glass Upcycling

For the group’s research in glass, visit the group’s website: Restructgroup

More information on the research in recycling via casting can be found in: Restructgroup

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 28 August 2023 via the application button, your application should include: 

  • Motivation letter (no more than 600 words) addressing your interests and describing how your experience and plans fit with the position;
  • Detailed CV – highlight examples of projects and/or achievements and previous experience that demonstrate skills relevant to the advertised position; (max. 8 pages)
  • MSc thesis and, if applicable, one or two notable publications you have authored or projects you have contributed to (please indicate clearly your contribution in case of group work);
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  • Contact information for two references (letters not required at this stage);

Please note that: 

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.


Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment








€ 2.541,00 – € 3.247,00


University graduate