PhD Position within Minimized PLUME dispersion through natural FLOCculation (PLUMEFLOC-project) (CiTG20.07)

Updated: 26 days ago

PhD Position within Minimized PLUME dispersion through natural FLOCculation (PLUMEFLOC-project)

Department/faculty: Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Level: University Graduate
Working hours: 38-40 hours weekly
Contract: 4 years
Salary: 2325 - 2972 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences

The Department of Hydraulic Engineering is one of the seven departments of the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences ( ). Hydraulic Engineering is mainly concerned with major surface water bodies such as rivers, estuaries and seas. The focus is on understanding, designing and implementing human interventions in the natural environment for the discharge of water, for protection against water, for transport over water and for building in water.

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Job description

The potential of deep-sea mining for metalliferous sediments, massive sulphides and poly-metallic nodules is presently explored by industries and academics. The excavating of these materials will generate plumes of suspended fine-grained solids, which are considered harmful to the deep-sea environment. To assess the impact it is essential to determine how far plumes are dispersed by bottom currents and how their suspended loads evolve with time. Currently, flocculation is not accounted for in these models, whereas it could lead to a reduction of the plume spread as flocculated particles will settle faster than non-flocculated ones.

The PhD work will enable to identify the optimal conditions for minimizing the plume dispersion, given the environmental constraints (characteristics of sediment and disposal area) and the tuneable parameters (sediment release conditions, addition of flocculant/coagulant). This will be done by performing systematic small-scale laboratory tests, using a large variety of techniques discussed below. The PhD will benefit from the work performed in two parallel projects of the present consortium, one concentrating on the composition and flocculation of natural samples and doing field measurements, the second one studying the near field plume dispersion in scaled laboratory experiments.

Current methods for in-situ monitoring of turbid plumes make use of optical (OBS, LISST) and accoustic (ADCP) sensors sensitive to particle size, both will be used by the PhD. These techniques require a proper calibration as the conversion of raw data into a full particle size distribution is not trivial due to the polydispersity of the studied samples. In order to develop a proper measurement protocol, the PhD will use complementary techniques that are currently developed in our group, such as, in particular, a new video microscopy system. The major part of the experimental research will be performed at Deltares laboratory (Delft) which is a partner in the project.

The PhD will work under the daily supervision of Dr. Claire Chassagne and in collaboration with prof. Dr. Julie Pietrzak, both from the department of Hydraulic Engineering (TU Delft). The other primary members of the consortium are Dr. Rudy Helmons from the department of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (TU Delft) and Dr. Henko de Stigter from the group of Ocean Systems (NIOZ).

This 4 year PhD position starts preferably June 1st 2020, but the starting date is negotiable to some extend.


- A MSc degree in related disciplines (such as fluid dynamics, colloid science, mining and mineral engineering, geo- or biochemistry, applied sciences, geosciences...).

- To be proficient in spoken and written English.

- To like to work in a cooperative and amicable team and possess good communication skills.

- To demonstrate a good affinity with laboratory work and be able to deliver high-quality results.

- To be a good-humoured, creative and critical thinker.

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. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The minimum salary mentioned is the salary in your first year. The salary mentioned as the maximum will be your salary in your fourth year.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. 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 information about this vacancy, you can contact Claire Chassagne, Assistant professor, email: [email protected] .

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Marloes Heemskerk, HR advisor, email: [email protected] .

To apply, please send a detailed CV, along with a short letter of motivation containing the names and contact details of two persons who can provide references. All the documents should be compiled into a single pdf file named CiTG20.07_lastname.pdf before March 15, 2020 to Dr. Claire Chassagne via [email protected] .

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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