PhD position in Experimental-Numerical Micro-Mechanics

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 19 Feb 2023

Are you an engineer who want to work on sustainability and recycling of material use? We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic PhD candidate to work on a challenging experimental-numerical micro-mechanics project, in an exciting multidisciplinary team.

Irène Curie Fellowship



Mechanical Engineering

Reference number


Job description

The project: ‘Improve Bendability of Ultra-High Strength Abrasion-Resistant Steels’

Abrasion-resistant steels are used extensively in construction, agriculture and mining for their capability of withstanding severe wear and tear, extending operational life and minimizing repair and replacement costs. However, forming of these strong steel grades may lead to issues such as splitting during bending. The bending behavior of these steel grades is currently poorly understood. Extensive microstructural characterization and mechanical testing of these grades has been performed trying to unravel the factors that influence failure. While these studies have revealed the complexity of the fully martensitic microstructure with microstructural variation toward the surface, they have not shown the root causes of failure, thus a clear path to design grades with better bendability is lacking. Therefore, the goal of this project is to unravel the micromechanical origin of the poor bendability of the abrasion resistant steel grades and to reveal critical microstructural configurations that should be avoided by heat treatment and alloy design.

PhD vacancy with a focus on in-situ micro-mechanical testing and micromechanical modeling

To address the goal, a multi-scale integrated experimental-numerical micromechanical approach is adopted, with the following ingredients:

  • in-situ SEM bending tests observing at the macro- to micro- to nano-scale, providing the evolution of strain fields overlaid on detailed EBSD microstructure maps, to establish the link between shear band formation, damage formation, and crack initiation and propagation;
  • identification of the key micro-deformation mechanisms by high-resolution SEM-DIC testing and strain mapping of ultra-thin ‘2D’ specimens, characterized à-priori by two-sided EBSD mapping yielding grain and phase orientations and prior austenite grain reconstruction;
  • micromechanical modelling of these ‘2D’ specimen tests, including their full 3D microstructure, enabling one-to-one comparison of numerical to experimental strain fields, to unravel the origin of the complex micro-deformation mechanisms and provide processing guidelines.

Section Mechanics of Materials and the Multiscale Mechanics Laboratory

You will work in the Section of Mechanics of Materials ( ), Department of Mechanical Engineering, which is globally recognized for its research on experimental analysis, theoretical understanding and predictive modelling of complex mechanical behavior in engineering materials at different length scales (e.g, plasticity, damage, fracture,…), which emerges from the physics and mechanics of the underlying multi-phase microstructure. An integrated numerical-experimental approach is generally adopted for this goal.

You will carry out the state-of-the-art high-resolution in-situ SEM micro-mechanical experiments at the Multiscale Mechanics Laboratory ( ), led by dr. Johan Hoefnagels ( ), which bridges the gap between traditional materials science and mechanical characterization labs, by integrating micro-mechanical testing with real-time and in-situ microscopic observation.

Job requirements
  • A talented, motivated, enthusiastic, curiosity-driven researcher. Deep analytical skills, initiative, creativity, and flexibility are highly desired.
  • An MSc-degree in Mechanical Engineering, Materials science, Physics, or equivalent degree. A strong background in mechanics of materials is required.
  • Experience in experimental mechanics, mechanical testing, micromechanics, microscopy and metallurgy, structure-property relationships, FEM simulations, Matlab coding are of benefit.
  • Interest to work in an interdisciplinary project.
  • Excellent oral and writing skills in English.  

Conditions of employment
  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network, with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate (go/no-go) evaluation after 9 months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • You’re offered an advanced PhD-level training program in the field of Engineering Mechanics, organized by Dutch Graduate School on Engineering Mechanics ( ).
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students , High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities .
  • Additionally, a year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

About TU/e

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more about the scientific content of the PHD project? Please feel free to contact us: dr. Johan Hoefnagels, j.p.m.hoefnagels[at] ( ) and dr. Ron Peerlings (r.h.j.peerlings[at] 

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment . You can also contact HRServices.Gemini[at]

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .


Application documents (in PDF format) must contain:

  • a cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • a detailed Curriculum Vitae, including:
    • your photograph
    • a list of your publications
    • a brief description of your MSc thesis and BSc project.
    • the contact information of three references
  • a separate List of your experience, if any, with Experimental Mechanics:
    • mechanical testing,
    • micromechanics,
    • microscopy and metallurgy,
    • materials characterization,
    • digital image correlation,
  • a separate List of your experience, if any, with Numerical Mechanics:
    • theoretical mechanics,
    • FEM simulations,
    • Matlab/Python coding,
    • numerical analysis,
    • structure-property relationships,
  • The Official Grade Lists of your BSc., MSc. (and PhD) education, including all your courses.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

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