PhD Position in Hierarchically Structured Polymer Matrices

Delft University of Technology, Netherlands is inviting excellent candidates to apply for a PhD position in mechanical engineering. Applicants should apply as soon as possible.

The faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s largest faculties devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. In the Netherlands it is the only research and education institute directly related to the aerospace engineering sector. It covers the whole spectrum of aerospace engineering subjects. In aeronautics, the faculty covers subjects ranging from aerodynamics and flight propulsion to structures and materials and from control and simulation to air transport and operations. In astronautics, topics include astrodynamics, space missions and space systems engineering. The faculty has around 2,700 BSc and MSc students, 225 PhD candidates and 27 professors supported by scientific staff.

The faculty’s mission is to be the best Aerospace Engineering faculty in the world, inspiring and educating students through modern education techniques and enabling staff to perform ambitious research of the highest quality for the future of aerospace. The working atmosphere at the faculty is friendly, open-minded and dedicated.

The Department of Aerospace Materials and Structures is dedicated to research on and development of structures and materials. The department consists of multiple groups that together cover the range from fundamental material science to full-scale structural component testing.

The Aerospace Manufacturing Technology goup focusses on product and process innovation with advanced polymer composites. Its interdiscipinary research between materials science, engineering and manufacturing provides building blocks for novel industrial technologies.

Carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites have gained great importance as lightweight materials in many applications in space, aerospace, automotive and renewable energies. Such CFRPs are supremely effective when exploiting their tensile properties in the fibre direction, however, the epoxy-based matrix is typically brittle and has a low fracture toughness. A typical toughening method consists in blending a high molecular weight thermoplastic polymers like polyetherimide or polyethersulfone into the brittle epoxy matrix. These thermoplastics undergo reaction induced micro- or macrophase separation and have shown to increase the fracture toughness considerably. The aim of this PhD project is to tailor the heterogeneous structure of such systems at various scales, from the molecular level up to the mesoscale. The candidate is expected to develop novel manufacturing methods with supreme control over hierarchical structures and to scrutinize on the benefits in fracture mechanics and possible damage tolerance of such systems, whilst identifying attractive processing scenarios. This is to be achieved by experimental work complemented with the development of constitutive models to predict the phase behaviour as well as the fracture phenomena

We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher with excellent qualificationsand an university degree (Master or equivalent) in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, material science, nanoscience, polymer chemistry, applied physics or a related subject. An affinity to experimental work relating to polymer processing, fracture mechanics and experience in developing constitutive models would be very valuable. The candidate should have a very good command of English language, in direct communication as well as writing skills and should enjoy working in a interdisciplinary environment

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact prof. C. Dransfeld, phone: +31 (0)15-2786939, e-mail:

To apply, please send an application letter by e-mail, a curriculum vitae, transcripts of BSc and MSc degrees, copies of BSc and MSc diplomas, proof of language skills if applicable, and the names of two references to Ms. G.J.M. van der Windt,

When applying, please refer to vacancy number LR18.33.


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