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PhD Position in Materials and Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven, Belgium

Reza Talemi's picture

Experimental and Numerical Study on Fretting Fatigue Behaviour of Additively Manufactured Metal Parts

At the Department of Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Technology at KU Leuven, we develop and study new materials and processes to shape these materials. Changing the microstructure of a material allows developing materials with new characteristics, which leads to new applications. Inside MeM2P group (Mechanics of Materials, Products and Processes), our current research lies in the interface between applied research (service to industry) and knowledge-driven research (theoretical-abstract). In particular, our research focuses on contact mechanics, fatigue, fracture mechanics and impact of metals in engineering applications.


Additive manufacturing (AM) is becoming a game-changing technology with enormous potential impact on the range of available designs, enabling new component capabilities that cannot be realized with any other technology andreducing lead-times, storage and transportation costs. Among different available AM technologies, Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is a powder-bed based technique which is very popular. The successful construction of additively manufactured metallic components for safety-critical applications requires athorough understanding of metallurgical structures, residual stresses and associated mechanical properties. Fatigue fracture assessment of SLM components is well-documented in the literature. However, there is very little research work focusing on tribo-mechanical properties of SLM components, such as fretting fatigue phenomenon.

By definition, the fretting fatigue occurs when two contacting parts slip over each other at a micro level while being subjected to an external fatigue loading conditions. When compared to a plain fatigue problem, fretting fatigue reduces the lifetime of a part by half. This phenomenon is a complicated task, because of the fact that the contact stresses at the contact interface are multiaxial. To this end, depending on the multiaxiality and non-proportionality of the stresses at the contact interface, the response of the material is different. This failure mode happens in many industrial applications such as automotive parts, fasteners, bearings shafts, steam and gas turbines’ blades. Many of these applications such as steam and gas turbines’ blades are potential applications for AM technology. Therefore, correct assessment of the fretting fatigue response of additively manufactured parts is very important for safety-critical applications such as gas turbines’ blades.

This research project focuses on behaviour of additively manufactured metal parts when subjected to the fretting fatigue loading conditions using both experimental testing and advanced numerical modelling. The project is sponsored by the KU Leuven internal funding scheme BOF (FLOF- Doctoraatsbeurzen). The research work is a collaboration between the Department of Materials Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Reza Talemi at MTM ( and co-supervised by Prof. Brecht Van Hooreweder at KU Leuven’s AM-group (


  • You will have a Master’s degree in Materials engineering, Mechanical engineering, Civil engineering, Physics or a related subject with good grades (at least distinction in Master’s degree)
  • You will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person who meets the academic requirements for enrolment for the PhD degree at KU Leuven. 
  • You have an enquiring and rigorous approach to research. A strong interest for multidisciplinary research in mechanical and materials engineering is required
  • You are interested in advanced finite element modelling and mechanical testing
  • You have good knowledge of working with ABAQUS software and programming languages such as Fortran and Python
  • Good knowledge of English language, both spoken and written, is essential
  • Strong commitment, open-minded, ability to work in a team, and eager for international mobility


A fully funded PhD position in an international context at the KULeuven: a top European university and a hub for interdisciplinary research inthe fields of characterizing mechanical behaviour of materials. You will be embedded in the MeM2P research group of the Department of Materials Engineeringin TC Campus-Gent. You will work in world-class facilities with highly qualified experts,and will benefit from the training scheme developed based on the expertise ofacademic and industrial partners. This PhD studentship involves regular contact with industry including visits to research facilities and giving presentations to industrial experts. In addition, you will have opportunities to attend and present your research at major international conferences, as well as publish scientific papers in the relevant journals. The successful candidates will receive a contract as researcher for one year, starting in April 2020 and renewable up to three years, resulting in a PhD degree in EngineeringTechnology if successful, along with a doctoral training not only on materialscience but also with the possibility to follow the skills and competence courses from the Arenberg doctoral school.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Reza Talemi, tel.: +32 9 331 65 01, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than March 31, 2020 via the online application tool:

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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