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Job ID: 106904

PhD position in advanced fibre break models for predicting synergetic effects in hybrid composites
KU Leuven

Date Posted May 21, 2018
Title PhD position in advanced fibre break models for predicting synergetic effects in hybrid composites
University KU Leuven
Department Materials Engineering
Application Deadline open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant
  • Graduate Student
  • Textile Engineering
    Structural Engineering
    Polymer Science
    Mechanical Engineering
    Engineering Mechanics
    Engineering - Other

The key challenge of this PhD project is to develop a fibre break model that accurately captures the entire stress-strain diagram of fibre-hybrid composites and accounts for complex loading cases. The work will be performed in the Composite Materials Group of the Department of Materials Engineering at KU Leuven (Belgium).

The work requires a strong background in solid mechanics and/or materials science and a mindset for personal development. This project will be roughly 50/50 modelling/experimental research, and it is hence vital that applicants are keen for such a combination. During the appointment, two secondments are planned:

  • 4 months to the University of Nottingham (UK) – to gain insight into the alignment process for aligned, discontinuous fibre-reinforced composites
  • 2 months to BMW (Germany) – to get an industrial perspective on fibre-hybrid composites

During this PhD project, the researcher will:

  • Develop a strategy for optimising the microstructure of fibre-hybrid composites for quasi-static and fatigue loading cases;
  • Gain fundamental understanding of why synergetic effects occur and how they can be controlled through microstructural parameters;
  • Perform advanced experimental validation of the fibre break model focusing on the in-situ development of fibre breaks using synchrotron computed tomography;
  • Participate in the dedicated training programme organised by HyFiSyn (including technical, communication, career management and business skills), and in bi-annual project meetings;
  • Write scientific papers for publication in top-level journals in materials science/mechanics;
  • Present his/her research in project meetings, international conferences and outreach events;
  • Work in close collaboration with supervisors, while being the driving force for his/her own PhD.

A good applicant should be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person with a mindset for personal development. He/she should meet the requirements for PhD enrolment at KU Leuven. This requires you to have achieved the level of distinction and passing the language requirements (see He/she has obtained (or is about to obtain) good grades for a master degree in Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering or similar. Eligible applications will be assessed on the applicant’s (i) academic qualifications, (ii) background on materials modelling, (iii) technical skills, (iv) communication skills, and (v) motivation for the project. KU Leuven has an equal opportunities and diversity policy.

The post is supported by an allowance provided by the European Commission. Candidates must fulfil two eligibility criteria for this award:
(1) not residing in Belgium for at least 24 months in the last 3 years, and
(2) having not more than 4 years of research experience (working as researcher after obtaining your master’s degree).

For further details about this specific position, please contact Dr. Larissa Gorbatikh ( For general information on the PhD process at KU Leuven, please go to Interested applicants should apply electronically by clicking on the button below.

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • Yentl Swolfs
    Materials Engineering
    KU Leuven
    Kasteelpark Arenberg 44 Box 2450
    Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3001


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