PhD: Multidisciplinary propeller analysis and design for optimal energy efficiency, noise emissions, and structural performance in propulsive and regenerative conditions (LR19.40)

Updated: 6 days ago

PhD: Multidisciplinary propeller analysis and design for optimal energy efficiency, noise emissions, and structural performance in propulsive and regenerative conditions

Department/faculty: Faculty Aerospace Engineering
Level: University Graduate
Working hours: 38-40 hours weekly
Contract: Temporary
Salary: 2325 - 2972 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world's largest faculties devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. In the Netherlands, it is the only research and education institute directly related to the aerospace engineering sector. It covers the whole spectrum of aerospace engineering subjects. In aeronautics, the faculty covers subjects ranging from aerodynamics and flight propulsion to structures and materials and from control and simulation to air transport and operations. In astronautics, topics include astrodynamics, space missions and space systems engineering. The faculty has around 2,500 BSc and MSc students, 225 PhD candidates and 30 professors supported by scientific and technical staff.

The faculty's mission is to be the best Aerospace Engineering faculty in the world, inspiring and educating students through modern education techniques and enabling staff to perform ambitious research of the highest quality for the future of aerospace. The working atmosphere at the faculty is friendly, open-minded and dedicated.

The position will span 2 of the faculty’s 4 departments:

•  The Department of Aerodynamics, Wind Energy and Flight Performance and Propulsion (AWEP) operates comprehensive laboratories equipped with modern wind tunnels and state-of-the-art measurement systems. Fundamental aerodynamic research is performed in the Aerodynamics section. Aircraft design, propulsion systems and their integration with the aircraft are the main topics in the Flight Performance and Propulsion section. Wind energy systems, from small wind turbines to large offshore farms, and aeroacoustics are the key research areas in the Wind Energy section.

•  The Department of Aerospace Materials and Structures is dedicated to research on and development of structures and materials. Multiple research groups cover the range from fundamental material science to full-scale structural component testing. The Aerospace Structures and Computational Mechanics section performs research dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in the field of aerospace structures and computational mechanics, combining engineering expertise with the use of advanced computational tools and experimental activities in order to develop design solutions relevant to industrial needs.

Job description

Today’s rapid growth of air traffic puts increasing pressure on the environment, both in terms of climate change and noise hindrance. Electrification of aircraft can provide the necessary breakthrough to reduce this pressure. Despite the lower energy density of batteries compared to jet fuels, the increased design freedom inherent to aircraft designs with electric propulsion offers potential integration benefits that can be exploited to improve performance. Moreover, the electric architecture offers additional benefits such as for example energy regeneration during flight (similar to regenerative braking on electric cars).

This PhD project focuses on the multi-disciplinary numerical analysis of isolated and installed performance of propellers used in both propulsive and regenerative modes. Since the blade loading in regenerative mode will be opposite to the conventional propulsive mode, the aerodynamic, acoustic, and structural performance of the propeller will be markedly different in both modes of operation. Moreover, in regenerative mode the interaction effects with the airframe will also be opposite to the well-studied propulsive case. The fundamental scientific challenge is to understand and describe the aeroacoustics and vibroacoustics of propeller-wing interactions.

The research will be performed with high-fidelity numerical aerodynamic, aeroacoustic, and structural solvers to characterize the dominant physical phenomena involved in the propeller-wing interaction. The aerodynamic and structural analyses will be coupled to predict the vibrational response of the wing, and the associated structure-borne noise sources will be compared to the most relevant airborne noise sources. Using the developed understanding of the physical phenomena, the project will end with an optimization study in which optimal geometries are defined for maximum performance on the 3 disciplines. Besides geometrical modifications and structural tailoring, this may also include passive or semi-active control strategies to optimize blade deformations for maximal performance in the two different regimes of operation.

The work will be performed in the context of a large EU-funded project on hybrid-electric aircraft, and in collaboration with a colleague PhD candidate in the same project who will analyse regenerative propulsion with high-fidelity experimental methods. Besides the research activities, the PhD candidate will join the TU Delft Graduate School to increase disciplinary competences and be trained in transferable and research skills.


The candidate should have an MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering from a well-established university, or an MSc degree in related engineering disciplines such as applied physics, applied mathematics, or mechanical engineering with a proven experience (courses, projects, work experience) in the field of aerospace engineering. A combination of good mathematical/analytical skills and a strong interest in high-fidelity numerical simulations is required. Proven experience with such simulations and related data processing is advantageous for this position. Since an important part of research work is dissemination and collaboration, fluent communication skills in English, both written and orally, are of utmost importance. Female scientists are particularly encouraged to apply. A strict equal opportunity, gender-neutral recruitment procedure is implemented.

Conditions of employment

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. You will have 232 hours of paid leave each year and in addition to your salary, at TU Delft you will receive an annual holiday allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of your salary. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The 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.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact T. Sinnige, phone: +31 (0)15-2789550, e-mail: .

To apply, please send by e-mail ( ) a single pdf file that includes:

  • application letter;

  • curriculum vitae;

  • transcripts of BSc and MSc degrees;

  • copies of BSc and MSc diplomas;

  • proof of English language skills;

  • the names and contact details of two references

Applications not complying with these requirements will not be taken into consideration.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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