Phd Numerical Modeling of Sediment Plumes Generated By Seafloor Mining Operations

Delft University of Technology is pleased to invite applicants to apply for a new opening PhD position in materials engineering. This position is open until filled.

The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.

The Department of Maritime and Transport Technology (MTT) of the faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, studies how to develop, design, build and operate marine, dredging and transport systems and their equipment. New generation transport and marine systems require the further development of the knowledge of the dynamics and the physical processes involved in transport, dredging and marine systems, the logistics of the systems and the interaction between the equipment and control systems. For more information on the research activities of M&TT department, section Dredging Engineering, please see: maritime-and-transport-technology.

Depletion of strategic mineral resources on land has sparked renewed interest in exploitation of deep-sea mineral deposits such as polymetallic nodules, phosphate nodules, seafloor massive sulphides and cobalt-rich crusts. The extraction of these deposits from the seabed is expected to have an impact on local ecosystems in the mined area, as it involves removal or overturning of the top layer of the seabed over large areas, potentially impacting ecosystems by plumes of suspended sediment over an area that might be larger than the mining site.

The Blue Harvesting project focuses on the development and improvement of a hydraulic nodule collector, while reducing its environmental impact. This part of the research focusses on the initial spreading of the sediment plume and how to optimize the design of the collector to lower the spreading of the suspended sediments. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) will be used to predict the sediment plumes and where possible also give advice on how to reduce the spreading ofsuch plumes. The results will be validated in the laboratory and in an actual deep sea field test. The PhD will work in close collaboration with a post doc on the nodule pickup and separation process and the PhD will be involved in collaboration with other project partners as well.The outcome of this study will help to optimize the design of the hydraulic nodule collector, while leading to lower environmental pressures caused by the mining operation.

Candidates must have a MSc in Mechanical, Dredging, Offshore or Maritime Engineering or a related field.

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 information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr Rudy Helmons, email:, phone: +31(0)152784746.For information about the selectionprocedure, please contact Mrs Nathalie van Benthem, HR advisor, email:

To apply, please submit an application letter and a detailed CV by 31 December 2018 to and refer to the vacancy number 3mE18-75 in the subject.


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