PhD Position in Non-destructive Material Characterisation of Aerospace Composite Materials using Ultrasonic Guided Waves

  • Training/Education
  • Anywhere
  • Posted 1 month ago

Delft University of Technology

Being able to monitor material characteristics non-destructively is important for the quality control and safe operation of aerospace structures, especially for those made from novel materials or novel manufacturing processes. Ultrasonic guided waves are one of the most effective non-destructive techniques for characterising elastic and viscoelastic properties of thin plate-like structures. This is essentially achieved by solving the inverse problem of interpreting material properties from experimental observations through analytical/numerical modelling. The effectiveness of the inverse material characterization is constrained by the fidelity of analytical/numerical models and the capability of experimental measurements, particularly for anisotropic fibre-reinforced polymer composite materials with large design freedom (e.g., varying stiffness composite materials).

Manufacturing defects and in-service material degradation can introduce further anisotropy and inhomogeneity in material properties (e.g., non-uniformly distributed voids and cracks, varying moisture absorption through the thickness). In those situations, the simulation model with material symmetry and homogeneity assumptions may no longer match the experimental observation, resulting in the need to increase the stiffness matrix’s dimensionality and improve the numerical method. 

This PhD project is aiming to develop non-destructive material characterization methods using ultrasonic guided waves for defective or degrading aerospace composite materials. Specifically:

  • Develop simulation and experimental methods for ultrasonic guided waves in anisotropic and inhomogeneous thin-plate structures
  • Develop algorithms for fast inverse material characterization
  • Investigate and improve inverse material characterization capability in defective or degrading aerospace composite materials

You should have an MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering from a well-established university, or an MSc degree in related engineering disciplines such as Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics, or Mechanical Engineering with proven experience (courses, projects, work experience) in mechanics.

You need to be:

  • Familiar with finite element modelling
  • Familiar with mechanical testing
  • Proficient in Python or MATLAB
  • Independent, structured and solution-oriented
  • Excellent in verbal and written communication

Your knowledge/experience in the following areas is beneficial:

  • Design, manufacturing and testing of aerospace grade fibre-reinforced polymer composite materials
  • Damage and degradation of composite materials
  • Non-destructive testing or structural health monitoring methods
  • Ultrasonic guided waves

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires sufficient English proficiency to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. A minimum requirement of a TOEFL-score of 100 or IELTS of 7.0 per sub-skill (writing, reading, listening, speaking) applies to all candidates wanting to pursue a PhD programme at TU Delft. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.  

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme  for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values  and we actively engage  to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 270 PhD candidates and close to 3000 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond. 

Click here  to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Nan Yue, [email protected] .

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 15 May 2023 via the application button and upload your:

  • A cover letter (up to one page).
  • A detailed CV (up to two pages).
  • BSc and MSc Transcripts. 
  • (part of your) M.Sc. thesis or a scientific paper that you have written in English
  • Names and contacts information of at least two references (support letters are not needed). 

Please note:

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click here  for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

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