PhD Scholarship in Computational Mechanics of Materials

ETH Zurich, Switzerland is inviting excellent students to apply for a PhD position in applied mathematics. Applications will be evaluated on a continuous basis.

The Computational Mechanics of Materials Group in the Institute for Building Materials at ETH Zurich has openings for new position.Our research focuses on modeling micro- to meso-scale mechanical properties of engineering and biological materials. At small scales, these materials commonly present structural features and heterogeneities which directly affect macroscopic performance during deformation and failure mechanisms. Weak interfaces in a layered material, for instance, redirect crack propagation and may increase apparent macroscopic toughness. Overall strength, however, is influenced by random local defects that nucleate when critically loaded and propagate until global catastrophic failure occurs. Improving our fundamental knowledge of the link between small-scale structures and large-scale properties is needed to improve risk analysis of existing materials and the design of new materials. We develop cutting-edge numerical methods and apply high-performance computing techniques to build physics-based models. We apply our numerical tools to study fundamental properties in cross-scale mechanical interactions of complex materials and develop synergistic approaches through active collaboration with experimental research groups from several universities.

The objective of this project is to develop multiscale computational models of heterogeneous materials with focus on random micro-scale properties and extreme macroscopic performance probability. Simulation results will be compared to experimental results for validation and analyzed within the framework of stochastic mechanics. This approach will enable a better understanding of fundamental links across scales that govern the mechanics of complex materials. It will also provide tools to determine specific small-scale features that present high probability of failure at low stress levels.

Prospective applicants should hold an MSc in an engineering or a related discipline. A strong background in solid mechanics, material science, applied mathematics, computational science, or a related field is desirable. The candidate is expected to be fluent in English and to have programming experience. A new group member may participate in shaping a project according to her/his interests and talents within the first months of employment. The successful candidate shows enthusiasm for conducting original research and strives for scientific excellence. Positions are available for spring 2019.


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