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PhD position in Computational Mechanics at TU Delft

Angelo Simone's picture

Applications are invited for a PhD position (four years) in the area of computational modelling in the Computational Mechanics of Materials group of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. More information can be found below.


Computational material design and characterization of ceramics for ballistic protection

University: Delft University of Technology
Faculty: Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Level: Master degree
Working hours: 38 hours per week
Contract: 4 years
Salary: €2083 to €2664 per month gross

The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences provides leading, international research and education. Innovation and sustainability are central themes. Research addresses societal issues.
Research and education are closely interwoven. The faculty consists of the departments of Transport & Planning, Structural Engineering, Geosciences & Engineering, Water management, Hydraulic Engineering and Geosciences & Remote Sensing.

Ceramic is applied in armour systems because of its hardness and compression strength. However, during the ballistic impact and penetration process the ceramic material is exposed to a wide range of stress conditions varying from hydrostatic shock conditions up to uniaxial tension. The induced and interfering stress waves lead to stress conditions that vary in time. Crushing occurs in the impact zone, while fragmentation occurs in the surrounding material and at the rear face. The tensile strength of ceramic is relatively low and due to its brittleness also the energy absorption by fragmentation is low. So, not all ceramic properties are in favor for ballistic protection. In practice, ceramic is combined with one or more layers of other materials.
The challenge is to optimize the ceramic properties for a wide range of ballistic load conditions. Advanced production processes offer the possibilities to control the ceramic properties not only at the macro but also at the micro level. In order to define requirements and enable the optimization process, computational mechanics is a necessary tool. The multi-scale computational modeling of the ceramic response for multi-axial conditions and high loading rates is a main challenge in the PhD-project. Advanced crack models based on enhanced discretisation techniques will be proposed. Numerical procedures will be developed to calibrate the models to material as well as ballistic impact tests.
This project is sponsored by the Dutch MOD.

Applicants should have an MSc degree in Engineering, or an equivalent thereof. They should have good computer programming skills. A good team spirit and the ability to function in a multidisciplinary setting with different project partners is required. For this PhD position security screening by the AIVD will be performed. This screening requires a Dutch nationality of the candidate.

TU Delft offers an attractive benefits package, including a flexible work week, free high-speed Internet access from home (with a contract of two years or longer), and the option of assembling a customised compensation and benefits package (the 'IKA'). Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

For more information about this position, please contact L.J. Sluys, phone: +31 (0)15-2782728, e-mail: To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV and a letter of application by 1 March 2014 to

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