PhD Position Fatigue Crack Initiation and Propagation in Complex Bonded Steel-Composite Joints

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 15 Feb 2024

Predict the fatigue crack growth in composite material and bonded interface by testing and modelling cyclic load behaviour of complex steel-composite bonded joints under multi-axial loading.

Your role in the project/team will be to investigate fatigue crack initiation and growth in the composite material and steel-composite bonded interface of wrapped composite joints. You will focus on:

  • Fatigue (component) testing of steel-composite bonded joints under uni-axial and multi-axial loads;
  • Progressive damage modelling of composite material (cracking) and bonded interface (delamination) under cyclic loading at constitutive and component level using numerical methods;
  • Validation of fatigue tests by finite element modelling.

The research focus of the department Engineering Structures is placed on the investigation and development of resilient, smart and sustainable structures and infrastructures as well as on the structures for energy transition. Within these main themes research is carried out into the 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. The groups are using the unique Macro Mechanics Laboratory for full scale testing, monitoring and modelling of structures to facilitate implementation of innovations. The department delivers a large number of courses both at the BSc and MSc level.

Background in terms of BSc and MSc in field of (combinations possible):

  • Civil/Structural Engineering (e.g. fatigue resistance of steel structures, connections, composites/FRP structures, tubular CHS or RHS joints);
  • Mechanical engineering (e.g ship building, wind turbine blades, offshore structures, fibreglass pipelines);
  • Aerospace Engineering (e.g. composites, fatigue and structural integrity).

Required skills/a candidate should have the following experience:

  • Non-linear FEA for analysis of structural joints and/or components;
  • Failure mode (fracture) and/or fatigue characterisation/analysis of structural components/joints (preferably composite or steel).

Desired skills/ a good candidate would have some of the following experience:

  • Designing of test set-ups, conducting and post-processing of component cyclic and/or monotonic level experiments;
  • Measurement techniques using DIC, LVDTs and optical fibres;
  • Writing and publishing papers at conferences and in scientific journals.

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 .

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 more information about this vacancy, please contact our project manager: Tjeu Peeters, e-mail: [email protected] or project leader dr. Marko Pavlovic, e-mail: [email protected] . More information about the project can be found on this site .

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

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 7 January 2024 via the application button and upload:

  • A detailed CV;
  • Along with a short letter of motivation stating your personal research/academic/development interests (max 1 page);
  • Contact information of two persons who can provide references, a publication list;
  • A 300 words abstract of your MSc and two selected publications (if any).

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.

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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