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Last updated: October 27, 2011

One new PhD vacancy for 2012


The PhD vacancy is available in the "Mechanics of Materials and Structures" research group at Ghent University. The offices and laboratories of this group are situated in the south of Ghent (Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 903, 9052 Zwijnaarde).

Duration ?

The PhD vacancy is a full-time job position for 4 years. The funds do not allow hiring a post-doctoral researcher.

Job description ?

  • Additive manufacturing techniques (AM techniques) are getting more and more mature to build up complex metal structures from the melt. The molten metal is deposited layerwise to build up the complete component. The best technologies for the moment are selective laser melting, electron beam melting and laser cladding.
    Especially in aerospace structures, these additive manufacturing techniques offer a lot of potential, because till now, complex 3D-shaped aerospace components are milled from a monolithic block of material that is cast or wrought (like titanium, aluminium and stainless steel). This means that a lot of material has to be cut away, while AM techniques can selectively deposit metal only where it is needed.
    The major drawback of these techniques for the moment is the lower fatigue resistance, due to the layered microstructure, with large risk of porosities and impurities in the metal structure.

    The purpose of this PhD project is the numerical simulation of fatigue crack growth in typical aerospace components made by AM techniques. The deposited material shows anisotropy in its elastic and yield behaviour, and cracks can grow from porosities and inclusions in the metal material. Simulations should predict the fatigue crack growth in 3D metal components under mixed mode loading. It is supposed that XFEM methods (eXtended Finite Element Method or Partition of Unity method) will be the most suitable modelling technique for this application.

    The consortium for this project counts many partners from different universities and (aerospace) companies. The researcher will work in a multidisciplinary team and will have to interact with the other PhD students in the project. For the simulations, a combination will be used of the in-house XFEM software of one of the partners of the consortium and the commercial FE code Abaqus. Experimental input for validation is available from other researchers in the consortium. The PhD candidate should have a strong background in numerical modelling, fracture mechanics and finite elements (if possible XFEM methods).

Supervisors ?

The supervisors are Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM and Prof. Joris DEGRIECK. Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM is professor and has 7 years experience as postdoctoral research fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research - Flanders (F.W.O.-Vlaanderen). Prof. DEGRIECK is head of the department and head of the "Mechanics of Materials and Structures" group.

Who do we look for ?

  • you are interested in research and have the intention to obtain a PhD degree,
  • you have a Master Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Science, or similar,
  • you are familiar with mechanics of materials, experimental testing methods and computational techniques. Knowledge of composite materials, finite element software (e.g. ABAQUS, SAMCEF, ANSYS,...), programming languages (Fortran, C++) or Unix/Linux environment is an advantage,
  • mastering the Dutch language is not a prerequisite, but a good knowledge of English writing and speaking is absolutely required.

What do we offer ?

  • you will be working in a dynamic environment. Our group has expanded quite fast the last few years and currently, 4 postdoc's and 19 PhD students are working in our group. Besides, 18 PhD students have successfully obtained their PhD degree in the last five years,
  • we have extensive experimental and numerical facilities. You will have access to several Linux workstations and a high performance computing cluster to run finite element simulations on 2000+ cores,
  • we have good contacts with the regional composite industry and regional universities, so you will come into contact with industrial applications of composites and related research in other universities,
  • you will get the chance to attend international conferences on composite materials (e.g. ECCM, ICCM,...) and to present papers on these conferences. For those who are interested, an international exchange with another university is possible. As publications are increasingly important (also for your career afterwards), you are encouraged to publish your results not only on international conferences, but also in peer-reviewed international journals,
  • you will have a personal laptop and a private workspace. All PhD students and staff have their office in the same wing of the building. The laboratories are separate in another building,
  • if you are just graduated, your net income is 1750 EUR per month. The grant is free from taxes, so that is the amount of money that is deposited on your bank account every month. If you have a dependent wife and/or children, the salary is raised. Also seniority can be taken into account if you can show former relevant experience,
  • the cost for the PhD study itself is very limited. Our education system is very different from for example the system in the United Kingdom. When you start your PhD study, you pay a once-only tuition fee of 270 EUR, and the rest of your study is free of charge,
  • the university offers compensations for public transport (train) and bicycle. The work location can be reached easily by public transport (train and tram/bus),
  • a hospitalization insurance policy can be concluded,
  • there are a lot of sport accommodations and other benefits (reductions on computer purchase, internet connection, fitness,...) for university personnel,
  • there are specific organizations for the international student community in Gent. There are ISAG (International Students Association Ghent) and ESN (European Students Network). They are quite active in organizing all sorts of events (Student Unions and Societies for international students).
    Recently, a "China platform" and "India platform" have been founded for the benefit of Chinese and Indian students at Ghent University (see China platform, India Platform (1) and India Platform (2)).

How to apply ?

  • you write a detailed Curriculum Vitae in Dutch or English, containing:
    • your personal details (name, address, date of birth, nationality,...)
    • your education, subject of master thesis and degrees
    • your work experience (previous jobs)
    • additional skills (finite element software, programming languages, communication skills, ...)
    • mastered languages (Dutch, English, French)
    • references (previous projects in the domain, published papers,...)

  • you send the C.V. by post or e-mail to the following person:
    Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM
    Ghent University
    Mechanics of Materials and Structures
    Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 903
    9052 Zwijnaarde
    Belgium
    Tel.: +32-(0)9-331.04.32
    Fax: +32-(0)9-331.04.65
    E-mail: Wim.VanPaepegem@UGent.be

Additional information ?

  • you can freely download our research brochure. This PDF-document contains a lot of pictures and impressions of our research activities. You can find it on the webpage http://www.composites.ugent.be/ftp/brochure_UGent_MMS.pdf
  • you can contact Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM for any additional information, either by phone or e-mail or a personal appointment.