PhD Position in inverse Modeling of Electrochemical Polarization of Corroding Steel

ETH Zurich is offering PhD position. This fellowship is available for all students around the world. Applicants should apply as soon as possible.

The Institute for Building Materials (IfB) - Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering - at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. In collaboration with the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich we seek for fall 2018 onwards a PhD position in inverse modeling of electrochemical polarization of corroding steel

The aim of this project is to combine computational methods from geophysics (inverse reconstruction) with electrochemical polarization measurements in order to provide the scientific basis for a novel method ("electrochemical tomography") allowing to quantify the rate at which corrosion occurs on a metal buried in soil or in another porous medium. Localized steel corrosion is worldwide the most frequent cause for premature degradation of reinforced concrete infrastructures - such as bridges, tunnels, parking garages, etc. Furthermore, localized (or galvanic) corrosion frequently occurs in many different industrial sectors, such as in water utility systems, oil and gas pipelines, etc. The total costs arising to our society from this corrosion mechanism damaging infrastructures is in the order of billions of $ each year in industrialized regions such as Europe or North America. Despite this, all current non-destructive test methods to determine the rate of corrosion in localized (galvanic) corrosion phenomena are based on an empirical approach and have limited reliability. The novel, science-based approach of this project aims at overcoming these severe limitations of existing methods. These will broaden the array of non-destructive methods to diagnose the condition of our infrastructures.

The project will be performed in the research group of Prof. Dr. Ueli Angst at the Institute for Building Materials (D-BAUG) at ETH, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. A. Fichtner (Institute of Geophysics at ETH). Successful applicants should hold a MSc degree preferably in the field of geophysics, but may also have degrees in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, physical sciences, civil engineering, etc. A strong interest in numerical methods is needed. Knowledge in corrosion is not required, but the candidate is expected to show a strong interest in this field and to study the theory. Proficiency in written and oral English as well as maturity and self-motivation are necessary. Above all, candidates should be enthusiastic and creative in what they do.


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