PhD Scholarship in Cfd for Design Optimization and Fsi of Low-head Pump-turbines

Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden is inviting applicants to apply for a PhD position in nanotechnology. The funds for this fellowship are available for 5 years. Applications are welcome before January 19, 2020.


Integration of renewable electric energy sources into the European grid has led to a need for storage on multiple timescales to balance electricity supply with demand. The present project is part of a Horizon 2020 consortium that will improve reversible pump/turbine technology and adjacent civil structures needed to make low-head pumped seawater hydro storage economically viable in shallow seas and coastal environments with flat topography. This will contribute to a reliable renewable energy system with a minimum effect on global warming, and opens up possibilites for large-scale energy storage in new regions.

Information about the position

The PhD student position involves an initial phase of pump-turbine design, based on possible sitings, using inverse blade-design methodologies and CFD. The initial design must be delivered already after nine months to the experimental validation and analysis part of the consortium. The remainder of the work will focus on improvements of the analysis and the designs, as well as scaling up to prototype scale. Optimization of design and variable-speed operation should be employed to study and optimise round-trip efficiency, mode switching time, and minimum fish mortality. The stresses and strains on both the turbine and the surrounding structures should be investigated using FSI and rotor-dynamics. The CFD simulations will be conducted with the OpenFOAM open source CFD tool, and time-resolved methods for turbomachinery.

Novel axial-flow variable-speed contra-rotating reversible pump/turbines (RPT) should be designed and evaluated. A round-trip RPT efficiency of 0.7 to 0.8 should be reached in the final optimal design. Fatigue resistance of mechanical and civil installations should be addressed, which occur with switching between pumping and turbining modes within 90-120 seconds. Fish friendliness of the different concepts should be analysed in collaboration with other work packages in the consortium.

Information about the division of Fluid Dynamics

Fluid dynamics is a division at the department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences. Our mission is to gain fundamental knowledge about turbulent incompressible and compressible flows through numerical and experimental research, and develop new and improved computational and experimental techniques for the study of such flows in both fundamental and real-world environments. We also aim to assist industrial researchers and engineers in confronting problems involving turbulent and compressible phenomena.

The research at the Division covers turbulent flow (both compressible and incompressible), aero-acoustics and turbomachines. Our tools include both computations and experiments. The research covers a wide range of topics. In some research projects the smallest turbulent scales are studied whereas in others the function of a complete gas turbine is analyzed and modelled.

Our applied research is carried out in close cooperation with industry, both in national projects and in EU projects. Vehicles (cars, trucks, busses and trains), airplanes, gas turbines, water and wind turbines are important applications. The Division of Fluid Dynamics is part of Chalmers Sustainable Transport Initiative, Chalmers eScience Initiative and Chalmers Energy Initiative.

A large part of our teaching activity is carried out within our International Master Program in Applied Mechanics. In this program we offer courses covering a wide range of courses, including turbulence modelling, experimental fluid dynamics, CFD, heat transfer, turbomachinery and gas turbine technology.

-The details of the departmental research activities may be foundhere.

Major responsibilities

You should be self-propelled in planning, designing, performing and analysing the numerical studies. You should efficiently complete the courses required by the PhD programme. You should make great contributions as a teaching assistant.

We also see that youcontribute to a good working atmosphere.

Full-time temporary employment.The position is limited to a maximum of 4,5 years.


To qualify for the position you must have a Master of Science with strong connection to computational fluid dynamics. You have an in-depth knowledge and experiences of the underlying methods used in CFD and turbulence modelling. For the position you need excellent skills in oral and written English, and experiences in writing scientific texts and presenting scientific work.

Experiences with URANS, LES and/or DES simulations in OpenFOAM are highly beneficial. Experiences in programming of CFD codes, and in particular C++ and OpenFOAM are considered as an asset. Basic knowledge and experiences with simulations in turbomachinery, and experiences with optimization techniques and FSI are also meritorious for the position.

We are looking for a candidate that has a strong numerical analytic ability and a well-developed problem solving ability. Furthermore the candidate we are looking for has a strong internal motivation and is well self-propelled. Since we work in a multi-cultural environment it is important to be able to communicate and collaborate well with people from different backgrounds.

If Swedish is not your native language, you should be able to teach in Swedish after two years. Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the dynamic city ofGothenburg.

Read more aboutworking at Chalmersand ourbenefitsfor employees.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with Ref 20190719 and written in English.

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)


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)

- Introduce yourself

- Describe your previous research fields and main research results

- Describe your future goals and future research focus

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: 19 January 2020

Professor Hkan Nilsson, Fluid Dynamics,

Note that applications should only be sent through the system! Applications sent by mail will not be considered!


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