PhD position in Optimization of Balanced Compact Heat Exchangers

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Jul 2025

26 Aug 2023
Job Information

KU Leuven
Research Field

Environmental science » Other
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

15 Jul 2025 - 00:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Hours Per Week

38 hours/week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Reference Number

Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Compact heat exchangers become more and more crucial to meet future demands for cost-effective and energy-efficient energy systems in a wide range of applications, including e.g. light-weight mobile systems, compressors and ventilation systems.The research group is presently looking for a motivated PhD researcher to work in the context of an interdisciplinary project that brings together research groups from KU Leuven and VITO to drastically improve the overall energy efficiency and material use for such compact heat exchangers, using emerging methods and methodologies in multiscale modeling, automated design and additive manufacturing (AM). In this project, the PhD student is responsible for the further development of the multiscale model, and the efficient shape optimization of the fin arrays in balanced compact heat exchangers, while accounting for constraints imposed by the AM process.  To do so, the PhD student will strongly collaborate within the TFE group and with KU Leuven’s renowned Additive Manufacturing research group and the other project partners.
While shape optimization based on computational fluid dynamics simulations has revolutionized the design of aerodynamic surfaces and channel surfaces over the last three decades, the development of these techniques for finned heat transfer devices is still an exciting and emerging research domain, in particular its inclusion in the overall heat exchanger design. Within this PhD project we investigate the practical use and limits of multiscale optimization of compact balanced heat exchangers. The research builds on the expertise in the TFE group on multiscale heat transfer modelling, simulation and optimization and on a state-of-the-art finite-element simulation and optimization software for large-scale flow and heat transfer simulations on the basis of the FEniCS software package, that paves the way to finally realize 3D optimal design of balanced compact heat exchangers.

Research Field
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent


Additional Information
  • A doctoral scholarship of four years and, if successful, a PhD in Engineering Science
  • A competitive salary and additional benefits such as health insurance, access to university sports facilities, etc.
  • The opportunity to be active in an exciting and international research environment, engage in research collaborations and participate at international conferences
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year
  • An excellent doctoral training at the Arenberg Doctoral School in an international environment at a top European university. This will allow you to gain the skills required to successfully complete your PhD, as well as develop yourself as an independent researcher. Moreover, opportunities are provided to acquire deeper knowledge in subjects related to the topic by participating in trainings, summer schools, or lecture series in- and outside of KU Leuven
  • A flexible working culture with opportunity to up to 40% remote workingThe successful candidate is expected to start as early as possible, upon agreement with Prof. Baelmans

A targeted start date is to be agreed upon. 

Eligibility criteria

You are a highly motivated, enthusiastic and communicative researcher, and you are strongly interested in the development of multiscale models, numerical simulation and optimization methods for heat exchangers. Moreover, you are a team player that enjoys collaborating with people within the research group, the project, and beyond, and have

  • A master’s degree in Engineering with a background in mechanical engineering, computer science, mathematical engineering, or related field, or a master degree in applied mathematics, from a reputable institute, with at least distinction, 
  • A background in related fields such as numerical modeling, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer
  • The qualities to carry out independent research, demonstrated e.g., by the grades obtained on your M. Sc. thesis,
  • An excellent command of the English language, both in spoken and written form,
  • A critical mindset.

Additional research/educational experience in any of the following topics is considered a strong advantage:

  • Coding in languages such as Python and C++, 
  • Numerical optimization,
  • Parallel computing,
  • Flow solvers,
  • Heat transfer modelling.

Selection process

Applicants should express their interest by sending an email to prof. Martine Baelmans via the dedicated email address email should *strictly* contain the following information in the text body, in bullets:- Name - Master degree (Master specification, University + Country, Year obtained, Promotor) - Master thesis title - A one paragraph (up to half an A4 page) statement explaining the motivation for applying for this vacancy at KU Leuven.-Please also attach an academic CV to your email 
Do not directly apply in the online system as referred to below. This will be only necessary for selected candidates in a second stage.Note that if you do not receive a response to your email within three weeks, this means you have not been selected for the second stage.Decision: as soon as a suitable candidate applies (so do not wait untill the closing date to apply). 
For more information please contact prof.Martine Baelmans at .
You can apply for this job no later than 15/07/2025 via the online application tool

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
KU Leuven
Vlaams Brabant
Postal Code

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