PhD Student

Last application date
Apr 27, 2020 08:41
TW08 - Department of Electromechanical, Systems and Metal Engineering
Employment category
Research staff group 1
Limited duration
Master's degree (or equivalent) in mechanical or materials science or civil engineering.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

The research group Materials Science and Technology-DyMaLab is looking for a highly motivated PhD student to contribute to a European research project on advanced high strength steels for the automotive industry. The project aims at an enhanced understanding of the microstructural factors contributing to the energy absorption capacity of steels used in car components designed to protect car occupants in case of a crash. More specifically, advanced high strength steels which rely on the transformation of austenite to martensite during plastic deformation, also called transformation induced plasticity or TRIP effect, will be studied. Indeed, many studies have shown that the TRIP effect is a key element to obtain the superior properties needed for the newest generation of advanced high strength steels. Therefore, the TRIP effect has been extensively studied in recent years. However, knowledge is still missing on the austenite to martensite transformation under impact-dynamic, multiaxial loading conditions. The latter is the aim of present PhD research. More concrete, in the project well-controlled, dynamic multiaxial loads will be imposed to several automotive steels which show the TRIP effect. Analysis of the mechanical test results and microstructure of the steels will allow to identify the parameters which govern the transformation. Additionally, test and microstructural data will allow to feed and optimise models which describe the kinetics of the transformation and the resulting mechanical behaviour of the steels.

To characterise the dynamic behaviour of the materials, DyMaLab disposes of experimental facilities that are unique in the world. Using these facilities, the PhD student will investigate how strain rate and the multiaxiality of the stress state will affect the TRIP effect. In a first step, the PhD student, with the help of senior researchers, will have to setup and perform an extensive experimental campaign. Subsequently, based on the analysis of the test results combined with microstructural observations, the PhD student will assess existing models which describe the austenite to martensite transformation kinetics and related material behaviour. In a next step, optimised material laws will be developed. For the modelling part of the project, DyMaLab disposes of commercial finite element software which allows to implement user defined material models. The research will be performed in close collaboration with the other academic and industrial partners involved in the research project.

Apart from the research related to the project, we also expect the PhD student to contribute to the daily operation of the lab and the training of students (though limited in time).

The selected PhD student will receive a 4-year, competitive scholarship (monthly approximately 2000 EUR nett spendable plus other student benefits). If successful, the 4 years should result in a Ghent University PhD degree. Ghent University is among the top global universities according to several international rankings.

We offer an intellectually challenging, international work environment. Additionally, the PhD student will have access to high-quality training to develop hard and soft skills, opportunities to participate in international scientific conferences and to interact with international researchers.

Furthermore, Ghent is a charming medieval Flemish town, filled with canals, full of energy, history and culture.

The position is available from July 2020. The actual starting data is flexible, but preferably not later than September 2020. Students who graduate in July 2020 can apply.

Profile of the candidate

You have a master's degree (or equivalent) in mechanical, materials science or civil engineering. Metals and mechanics of materials should have been an important part of your curriculum.

You have a demonstrable interest in the field of mechanics of materials.

You are familiar with material testing and finite element modeling.

You have a keen interest in experimental work.

You have an independent, problem-solving, organized and result-oriented attitude.

You have the necessary social skills, flexibility and critical thinking to function in a multidisciplinary and international academic environment.

Competency of English (reading, writing, and speaking) is required.

How to apply

Applications have to be sent in via email to The following documents should be attached: motivation letter (no more than 1 page), CV (no more than 3 pages) and copies of your MSc degree. Please merge all documents into one PDF attachment. Short-listed applicants will be informed at short notice and names of referees will be requested. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.