PhD scholarship in Understanding the Mechanical Challenges in Proton Conducting Ceramics

Updated: about 2 months ago

The Department of Energy Conversion and Storage (DTU Energy) invites applicants for a PhD position in understanding mechanical challenges in proton conducting ceramics (PCCs).

At DTU Energy, we carry out R&D in energy conversion technologies for the future sustainable energy system. We are among the world’s leaders in research and development of electrolysis technologies. We have excellent facilities and competences for fabrication, testing and characterization of such devices. DTU Energy has around 200 employees.

We recently won support for a European project targeting development of an efficient and durable technology platform based on proton conducting ceramics (PCCs), for production, purification and compression of hydrogen at small to medium scale.

Background of the project
Mechanical testing and modelling of PCCs:

It is the goal of the PhD project to contribute (on the experimental side) to an integrated modelling platform for PCCCs which allows predicting under which conditions of operation mechanically reliable performance can be achieved.

A detailed model will be developed in the project, which, from calculated fluxes and temperature distributions, allow prediction of the distribution of mechanical stresses building up in a PCC module under operation.  Comparing such calculations with measured strength and toughness data enables identification of regimes of safe operation. Further consequences of design changes can be explored and specific materials requirements formulated.

The core of the PhD thesis is to carry the out the required mechanical testing of self-fabricated model materials/samples, as well as complete PCC components like tubular cells supplied by project partners. Testing will be carried out under operation conditions, reflecting temperatures and atmospheres experienced under real module operation.

Responsibilities and tasks
You will be involved in a broad range of mechanical investigations, which will include mechanical testing (bulk, interfaces) at high temperature in controlled atmosphere and also assess the mechanical failures through post mortem analysis (e.g. SEM-EDS)  and/or modelling. The obtained results will be utilized to suggest measures to mitigate risk of failure.

Thus, you should be strong in one or more of the following disciplines: solid mechanics, ceramic processing, fracture mechanics, experimental materials characterization, ceramics and/or multi-scale modeling.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a degree of equivalent academic level. The degree should be in the field of Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Physics, Chemical Engineering or similar. The candidate is expected to start around March 2021.

We prefer applicants with:

  • Skills in Mechanical Engineering  (e.g. fracture mechanics)
  • Experience or a strong interest in synthesizing and characterizing ceramics (inorganic solid materials)
  • Interest in conducting a longer research stay (~6 months) outside of  Denmark;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English
  • Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complicated tasks, to be part of a dynamical multi-disciplinary group, and to network both with project partners and international collaborators.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide .

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Senior Researcher Wolff-Ragnar Kiebach, Senior Researcher Henrik Lund Frandsen and Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The employment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .  

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Wolff-Ragnar Kiebach, .

You can read more about DTU Energy on

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .

Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 28 February 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here). Applications without a correct translation of grades, will not be considered.

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

At DTU Energy it is our vision to be a world-leading cross-disciplinary research department within sustainable technologies for energy conversion and storage, and to enable a sustainable society through innovative technology development building on fundamentalinsights.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

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