PhD Student in Solid and Structural Mechanics at Chalmers University of Technology

Chalmers University of Technology is offering PhD position. All students regardless of citizenship are eligible to apply. The deadline for applying is October 10, 2018.

You are hereby invited to apply for a PhD student position in the project “Model based condition monitoring of switches and crossings”.

Information about the research/the project/the division/department

Switches and crossings (S&C) are a central part of railway networks as they allow for trains to change between tracks. The flexibility comes at a cost however as the variation in rail profile shapes along S&C cause higher dynamic loads than in regular track. These in turn cause degradation and failures that result in high maintenance costs and traffic disturbances. It would thus be beneficial to enhance the condition monitoring of S&C to provide the information needed for better and more cost efficient maintenance and to provide a basis for system optimization.

The objective of this project is therefore to develop a model based procedure that can identify the structural condition of switches and crossings via data from sensors embedded in track. The intention is that the system should be accurate enough such that maintenance decisions can be taken based on output from this routine. The target system can be described as a Digital Twin representation of the S&C in track, where simulation model, condition monitoring data and maintenance history are combined to identify and predict the maintenance needs for individual S&C. Modeling and simulation in the areas of dynamic vehicle-track interaction, structural dynamics, model calibration and structural damage are forseen to be employed in these efforts together with statistics and optimization methods.

This research will build on previous investigations in European and in-house CHARMEC projects (see It will be run in close cooperation with industrial partners – especially Trafikverket (The Swedish railway administration) – and will be included in European research projects.

The project will be at the Division of Dynamics, Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (see The Division of Dynamics currently has 15 faculty members and 8 PhD students. The present research activities are focused on mechanical systems, structural dynamics, wave propagation, and railway mechanics. Areas of interest relate to various problems in solid mechanics such as vibrational problems, fatigue, wear, contact mechanics, wave propagation, optimization and dynamics of smart materials and structures. The research activities range from basic research to applied projects, including theoretical and numerical modelling, and experimental activities. Experiments are performed at the department’s laboratory “Vibrations and Smart Structures Lab” and through field measurements. The division is host for the National Centre of Excellence in Railway Mechanics (CHARMEC).

The Division of Dynamics is part of the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2, see, which with some 330 employees conducts fundamental and applied research in all modes of transport to achieve sustainable technological solutions. M2 holds one of Sweden's most extensive simulator centres for navigation and propulsion of ships, as well as world class laboratories within combustion engineering and wind tunnels. The department also offers and contributes to bachelor and master programs in areas such as Mechanical Engineering, Automotive Engineering and Shipping. In addition, professional education is performed on both a national and international level, with specific designed mission training for different social actors, within our ambition for a lifelong learning. The department continuously strives to establish a cooperation between academia, industry, and society, with a great focus on utilization. M2 is characterized by an international environment with employees and students from around the world, as well as outstanding research and world class education. M2 consists of seven different divisions within the areas of engineering and maritime sciences, and one division of administration and support.

Your project will be part of the activities within the Swedish National Centre of Excellence in Railway Mechanics CHARMEC - CHAlmers Railway MEChanics (see CHARMEC was established in 1995 and is supported by Chalmers, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and an Industrial Interests Group comprising ten partners. All research at CHARMEC is carried out in an international context with overall objectives to reduce the railway’s costs for production, operation and maintenance, and to decrease the environmental footprint while improving safety, reliability and transport quality. Currently, some 25 research projects are carried out within CHARMEC.

Major responsibilities

Your major responsibilities as PhD student is to pursue your own doctoral studies. This includes developing scientific concepts and communicating research results. The position is a full-time temporary employment with a time limited to a maximum of 4.5 years including teaching or other department duties corresponding to 15% of working hours. You will be employed by Chalmers and will receive a salary according to current salary agreements.

Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of 4.5 years.


A suitable background is a Master of Science (Swedish: civilingenjr) in mechanical engineering, civil engineering or engineering physics with emphasis on structural dynamics, solid mechanics and computational methods. The position requires oral and written communication skills in English and Swedish. If Swedish is not your native language, you are expected to teach tutorials in Swedish after two years. Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

You are expected to take initiatives, work independently when needed and to take responsibility for your work. Further, the project interacts closely with adjacent disciplines and industrial partners. Thus you need to have strong collaborative skills. Finally, you need to be able to disseminate results and knowledge within existing and new networks. This includes academia, industry and society at large.

Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with Ref 20180471 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as pdf-files, as below:

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)
- CV
- Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
- Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
- 1-3 pages where you introduce yourself and present your qualifications.
- Previous research fields and main research results.
- Future goals and research focus. Are there any specific projects and research issues you are primarily interested in?

Other documents:
- Copies of bachelor and/or master's thesis.
- Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, eg. TOEFL test results.

Application deadline: 10 October, 2018

For questions, please contact:

Assistant Professor Bjrn Plsson, Dynamics,, +46 31 772 1491


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