PhD Scholarship 3D2bgreen Sustainable Concrete Mixtures for 3D Printing of Breakwater Units

University of Ghent is delighted to offer a PhD position in structural engineering. The deadline for applying is January 31, 2019.

As the major construction cost of a breakwater unit is related to the logistic resources needed to move the unit from the yard to the construction site, the possibility to print it in situ or even at position, possibly below the water level, would be very advantageous. Moreover, 3D printing would allow to define a proprietary model breakwater unit, more complex shapes and even customized and optimized shapes according to the position of the unit on the breakwater. In addition, the layered surface, own to the 3D print technique, would allow for additional energy dissipation. However, printing such massive units is a real challenge as the high binder contents currently used in printable mixtures would cause thermal cracking in addition to the drying shrinkage cracks which are related to this automated production technique.

To guarantee the durability of the unit in a marine environment, we want to develop a printable mixture which answers all requirements to print the contour or both the contour and the infill pattern of the breakwater unit. In a second phase also the sustainability of the mixture will be taken into account. In case only the contour is printed, a sustainable filling material will be developed. The resistance against the marine environment will be further increased through improvement of the interlayer. After tackling these challenges, scale model breakwater units will be printed to investigate their mechanical, durability and hydraulic performance.

More information can be obtained by contacting Prof. Kim Van Tittelboom.

The Magnel Laboratory for Concrete Research at the Department of Structural Engineering of Ghent University is the largest Belgian research center in the field of concrete technology and concrete structures and has a vast and widely-spread international recognition. The research areas focus on different aspects of concrete structures, going from fundamental material research on microscopic and sub-microscopic scale to structural behavior and structural reliability of concrete structures on large scale. The Magnel Laboratory disposes of extensive experimental testing facilities and infrastructures, among which the large strong floor for executing load tests on large-scale elements is a unique instrument. In the context of this project, relevant state-of-the-art equipment is available at the Magnel Laboratory, including rheometers, mixing and pumping facilities, and a large-scale robot set-up for automated production.

The project is funded by SIM (Strategic Initiative Materials in Flanders) and VLAIO (Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship) and will be performed in collaboration with the companies BESIX-Flanders, Witteveen+Bos Belgium and ResourceFull.

The project starts as soon as a suitable candidate has been found.

The PhD candidate is offered a 3 year appointment in our high-level international research team at Ghent University, enabling to obtain a PhD in Civil Engineering at Ghent University. The candidate will have the possibility to attend international conferences, follow specialized courses, develop a national and international scientific and industrial network and visit different international high-level research institutes.

Applicants should contact Prof. Kim Van Tittelboom by e-mail ( as soon as possible, but no later than 31 January 2019.


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