PhD student - CFD-FSI Modelling of TEHL of rough contacts under dynamic conditions

Last application date
May 01, 2019 10:31
TW08 - Department of Electrical Energy, Metals, Mechanical Constructions and Systems
Limited duration
Master of Science in Mechanical or Physics Engineering.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

Context – Gears and roller bearings are still key components in modern mechanical drivetrains, regardless whether used in automotive, industrial machinery or wind turbine applications, because of the ever increasing demand for more power density. The lubricated contact conditions between these high-precision components largely determine the global performance, reliability and durability of the entire machine and therefore affect the Total Cost-of-Ownership (TCO), due to 1) primary hardware costs, 2) secondary costs related to performance decrease over lifetime, maintenance, repair, downtime, outage and failure and 3) to power consumption. In this context, understanding and optimizing the lubricant film in the bearing/gear-pair is vital to guarantee performance and durability, and reduce TCO.

In current project we envisage to develop of reliable, accurate and experimentally validated computational models for Thermo-Elastohydrodynamic lubrication (THEL) in rough non-conformal contacts under dynamic operating conditions. Such models allow fundamental analysis of highly-loaded lubricated machine-components in powertrains, with special interest on contact dynamics of bearings and gears. Focus will be on determining the dynamic response of TEHL contacts to variable loads and velocities and assessing its influence to the structural transmission of vibrations and noise generation in multi-component assemblies.

Your job will consist of developing – in collaboration with a colleague PhD student – a 3D CFD-FSI model in the open source software OpenFOAM for High-Performance Computing of rough TEHL contacts under dynamic operating conditions. This involves extensive modelling of the lubricant flow, including rheology, compressibility and cavitation, by means of 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and coupling it to the structure deformation by means of the so-called partitioned Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI). Once established, the dynamic response of a contact under variable operating conditions will be investigated and mapped.

Profile of the candidate

1. You hold a Master degree in Mechanical or Physics Engineering.

2. You have a strong motivation for conducting scientific research at a high level.

3. You possess good analytical, and technical skills

4. You are interested in computational mathematics and High Performance Scientific Computing.

5. You have affinity with Computational Fluid Dynamics and/or Tribology.

6. Experience with programming in C++, Matlab or equivalent is an advantage.

7. Experience with CFD, and in particular OpenFOAM is certainly an asset

8. You take responsibility for the development of your project in a well-structured, thorough way, and you’re able to solve problems independently. You display creativity in solving problems, generating ideas or finding new ways of working.

9. You have an open personality and willing to contribute to the team and participate in didactic projects.

10. You have excellent communication skills in English, both orally and written.

How to apply

For further information on the project and/or application, please contact Prof. Dieter Fauconnier () or Prof. Joris Degroote (). To apply, please complete the application form you find at and send it in pdf format to the former email address.