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PhD Position – Surface and Interface, Damage and Failure Mechanisms – Oct 2021

University of Twente (UT)

The Netherlands

University of Twente (UT) invites applications for Ph.D. Position in the area of modelling friction in crushed rock grains (gouge) in reservoir faults (surfaces and interfaces, damage and failure mechanisms) at the Surface Technology and Maintenance (SEM) group, Department Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (MS3), part of the faculty of Engineering Technology (ET), the Netherlands – Oct 2021

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General Info

Position: PhD Position
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: 4 Years
Salary: 2,434 EURO/Month

Surface Technology and Maintenance (SEM) group
Department Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (MS3)
University of Twente (UT)

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Qualification Details

  • MSc degree in Physics, Mechanical Engineering or equivalent, preferably with a background in tribology and/or rock/granular mechanics.
  • You are an excellent researcher, eager to learn and to improve;
  • You thrive in a collaborative environment;
  • Your interpersonal skills as well as English language skills are excellent.

Responsibilities/Job Description

The aim of the project is to develop physics-based friction models for fault contacts following a bottom-up approach and use these models to compute fault slip resulting in induced seismicity due to subsurface activities. The objectives of the PhD research, to accomplish the main aim will be:

O1. To develop friction laws for single-grain contacts in crushed fault-rock “gouges” using microscale sliding experiments and numerical models.

O2. To implement these micro-scale friction laws in numerical models developed to compute friction in fault-gouges (dm-scale granular-assembly).

How to Apply?

Online Application through "Apply Now" Button from this page

Reference Number: -
(If any, use it in the necessary place)

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Documents Required

Please submit your application before October, 20th 2021 by using the "Apply now" button. Applications should at least include the following:

  • A motivation letter describing why you apply for this position, with a description of your research interests (no more than 1 A4).
  • A detailed CV.
  • Academic transcripts from your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

The selection procedure includes an interview and scientific presentation.

About the Project

The Department Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (MS3), part of the faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) is currently seeking a PhD student in the area of modelling friction in crushed rock grains (gouge) in reservoir faults. The work will be done in the Surface Technology and Maintenance (SEM) group, where we work on topics related to surfaces and interfaces, damage and failure mechanisms, e.g. frictional failure in faults leading to earthquakes.

Earthquakes reflect the phenomenon of sudden slip when the frictional strength of faults in the Earth’s crust is overcome. This project seeks to understand the physical processes controlling this sudden failure through numerical modelling and lab experiments and applying the results to acquire large-scale models for earthquakes caused by gas extraction, geothermal energy production and subsurface storage. Gaining deeper knowledge of frictional mechanisms in faults at different length scales will help improve forecasting of earthquakes and other subsurface phenomena, caused by growing human intervention.

Fractures and discontinuities in rocks, i.e. faults in natural gas reservoirs are typically filled with crushed rocks grains called gouges. In a depleting gas reservoir, stresses on pre-existing faults result in fault reactivation and slip, thereby inducing seismicity. Understanding the friction between the gouge-grains in key to modelling fault slip. Frictional phenomena in individual gouge-grain contact can be experimentally simulated at the microscale as the relevant scale where physical frictional interactions take place. Using results from single grain experiments, a physical basis will be formulated for friction phenomena in microphysical and numerical granular models for fault-gouges.

About the Department

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

About the Employer: University of Twente (UT)


The UT provides a dynamic and international environment, combining the benefits of academic research with a topic of high industrial relevance, excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus. We offer:

  • A full-time 4-year PhD position;
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating international research environment with excellent facilities;
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente;
  • A starting salary of €2.434,- gross per month in the first year and a salary of €3.111,-  in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.

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Contact details

For more information, contact Dr. T. Mishra (

Advertisement Details: PhD position: Scaling friction from single grain to aggregate grain (fault-gouge) contacts

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