PhD Durability Assessment of Fully Bio-Based Fibre-Reinforced Composites for Circular Wind Turbine Blades

Updated: 18 days ago
Deadline: 30 Jun 2024

The ever-increasing effects of climate change and the imposition of environmental regulations to reduce CO2 emissions encourage the use of environmentally friendly materials in engineering structures.

Wind turbine blades currently face the challenge of recyclability as they are typically made from conventional glass fibre-reinforced epoxy composites. The current end-of-life treatment of wind turbine blades is approximately 50% incineration, whereas the other half is used as landfill. To solve this, using fully bio-based recyclable FRP composites (made of high performance natural fibre reinforced with biobased resins) to replace currently used glass fibre reinforced epoxy can significantly reduce the global carbon footprint. Natural fibres such as hemp and flax unlike synthetic glass and carbon fibres demonstrate particular non-linear behaviour. This specific characteristic is also observed at the scale of composites reinforced with such fibres. The repercussions of this behaviour for a highly structural component must be better understood, to adapt the design where necessary. In addition, natural fibres are hygroscopic which can lead to durability issues when embedded in a composite structure. In particular, biocomposites are more prone to creep and fatigue damage. These issues need to be fully understood and remedies should be used.

In this project, fatigue and creep behaviour of ‘’fully biobased’’ FRP composites in various hygrothermal conditions will be investigated and NDT techniques will be employed to simultaneously monitor damage mechanisms.

This PhD position is within Horizon Europe project SSUCHY-NEXT, a continuation of SSUCHY project (https://www.ssuchy.eu ). SSUCHY-NEXT aims at bringing high-performance circular ‘fully biobased’ composites to high technology readiness.

You will be guided under the direct supervision of Dr. Yasmine Mosleh from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and  Geosciences TU Delft, and Dr. Dimitrios Zarouchas from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, TU Delft.

The Department of Engineering Structures focuses on the development of resilient, smart and sustainable structures and infrastructures. Our aim is to meet societal demands in transportation, the energy transition and sustainable reuse. Research themes include dynamics of structures, mechanics of materials related to e.g. climate change, modelling and design of railway systems, multi-scale modelling of pavement materials and structures, reuse of materials, structures and parts of structures, assessment methods for structures, smart monitoring techniques, design methods, replacement and renovation of civil infrastructure and development of new materials and maintenance techniques. Our unique Macro Mechanics Laboratory facilities support full-scale testing, monitoring and modelling of structures to facilitate implementation of innovations. The department delivers both groundbreaking research and world-class education for undergraduate and graduate students. As a team, we represent different backgrounds, skills and views. We foster an inclusive culture, as our combined identities, attitudes and ambitions widen our perspective and make up our strengths.

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate, with excellent qualifications

For this position, the followings are required:

  • MSc degree in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, materials engineering, or a related discipline.
  • Good knowledge of FRP composite mechanics.
  • Experience with mechanical/physical characterisation and manufacturing of FRP composite materials.
  • Excellent spoken and written English.
  • A creative and curious mindset, courageous to take initiative or think outside the box.
  • Open to communication, with the ability to work independently or in a team.

The following will be appreciated:

  • Experience with fatigue/creep of polymers or FRP composites.
  • FE modelling of FRP composites.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements .

The start date of this position is 1st September 2024.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values  and we actively engage  to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science and supports its scientists in integrating open science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here  to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

For specific questions regarding the position, you can contact Dr. Yasmine Mosleh, Email:[email protected] .

Please note that sending application and CVs via email will not be taken into account. 

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 30 June 2024 via the application button and upload:

  • Motivation letter explaining why you are a suitable candidate (max 1 A4 page)
  • Detailed CV (max. 3 pages)
  • A letter in which you describe your understanding of the project description and how you to tackle this research subject (max. 1 A4 page), addressed to Dr. Yasmine Mosleh and Dr. Dimitrios Zarouchas .
  •  Abstract of your MSc thesis in English.
  •  Two selected publications (if any);
  •  Contact details of two persons who can provide references.

Please note:

If your MSc diploma and transcript are not in Dutch, English, French or German and you will be the selected candidate, the TU Delft will ask you to deliver a certified translation in case you will be appointed.

For information about the application procedure, please contact our secretariat [email protected] .

Please note:

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.


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