PhD Student

Uiterste inschrijvingsdatum
Mar 15, 2023 00:00
TW08 - Vakgroep Elektromechanica, Systeem- en Metaalengineering
Type contract
Contract van bepaalde duur
Master in electromechanical or electrical engineering
Vacature type
Overig academisch personeel


Ghent University is a top 100 university worldwide and one of the major universities in Belgium, with more than 44,000 students and 15,000 staff members. The Electrical Energy Laboratory (EELAB) at UGent is involved in a 4-year Flanders Make project with the title “Strategies to Avoid Electrically induced Bearing Damage” (EBearDam).

In recent electric drives, it is observed that bearing degradation caused by bearing currents can dramatically shorten the lifetime of bearings. The bearing currents cause material removal in the bearing raceway mainly via electric discharge machining (EDM), also known as spark eroding. These damage phenomena become more prominent nowadays because modern drives in automotive and industry start to use power electronic converters with Silicon-Carbide or Gallium-Nitride semiconductors. The very fast switching of these power transistors increases bearing currents and related damage. Bearing manufacturers have tools to compute the lifetime of bearings, but these tools don’t consider electrically induced damage.
EBearDam targets to develop a generic software tool that assesses electrically induced bearing damage. Based on a multiphysics model, the tool computes key indicators for bearing damage: shaft voltage and bearing current waveforms, and material removal rate in the bearing. The indicators will be studied for several operating conditions: axial/radial load on the bearing, rotating speed, temperature, …. In addition, EBearDam will investigate several countermeasures to reduce bearing damage. A measurement campaign will validate the tool for many operating conditions.

As a PhD student, you will contribute to the development of this assessment tool for bearing damage in electric drives. The first tasks include modeling of the electric machine, power electronics and its control. Collaboration is needed with other partners in the project, who build detailed bearing models. You will also do measurements of bearing currents and endurance damage tests together with other partners. In a later phase of the PhD, you will study mitigation techniques in software (PWM algorithm) or hardware (e.g. capacitive shields) both in simulation and experiment.

The initial contract duration will be one year, in which you are hired as a PhD researcher. The contract can be extended to 4 years in total, under the condition of a positive evaluation after the initial period. Ghent University offers an attractive salary with additional benefits, a positive and inspiring working environment and training possibilities. You will work at the Electrical Energy Laboratory in the Tech Lane Ghent Science Park in Zwijnaarde.


  • You hold a master of science in engineering (technology), preferably in electromechanical or electrical engineering.
  • You are motivated, creative and have a passion for academic research. You have an affinity with both experimental research and simulation software.
  • You have a strong technical knowledge, expertise and experience in the domain of electric machines, power electronics, control of electric machines.
  • You have good communication skills in English.
  • You like challenging scientific research in a multidisciplinary and international context.


Send your CV and motivation letter to before March 15, 2023. If you pass the pre-selection, you will receive further instructions on the selection process and will be invited for a job interview, possibly via Teams.