PhD student - Design and instrumentation of a novel large-scale TEHL bearing test rig.

Last application date
May 01, 2019 10:42
TW08 - Department of Electrical Energy, Metals, Mechanical Constructions and Systems
Limited duration
Master of Science in Mechanical 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. In order to validate these models under realistic conditions, one of the project aims is to develop an innovative test-rig for measuring TEHL in line-contacts between metallic bodies, which differs from the conventional ball-on-glass tribometers.

Your job is to design and develop in collaboration with our technical team an innovative large-scale mechanical bearing test setup with the aim to perform detailed and accurate in-situ measurements of the pressure and temperature distributions as well as spatial film thickness in highly-loaded closed metallic TEHL line-contacts, operating under controllable dynamic loads, accelerating/decelerating rolling-sliding motions, and well-controlled lubricant conditions. Moreover, the new test setup must be instrumented with a novel type of small sensors for measuring relevant physical parameters. Once established, experiments will be done to investigate in detail TEHL under dynamic conditions.

Profile of the candidate

1. You hold a Master degree in Electro-Mechanical 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, or have affinity with Tribology.

5. Experience with electro-mechanical design and instrumentation is clearly an asset.

6. 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.

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

8. 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. Patrick De Baets (). To apply, please complete the application form you find at and send it in pdf format to the former email address.