PhD Position: Multi-Objective Design of Structural Materials by AI-based Structure-Property Inversion

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: Permanent

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Advanced Manufacturing Lab (am|z) at the Department of Mechanical & Process Engineering develops advanced computational models alongside new manufacturing systems to overcome the limitations of today’s materials processing and production technologies.

Project background

The design of lightweight and efficient machine components relies on the optimal placement of material for a given load case. In many real-world applications, the loads span multiple physical domains, including structural, thermal, fluid, and magnetic. Multi-material additive manufacturing provides the ability to locally vary the mechanical structure (e.g. lattices, topology optimization) and material properties within the component to achieve multiple design objectives. What is lacking is a set of tools that leverage this capability and can apply it to the optimization of parts. To accomplish this task, we seek a highly motivated and talented PhD candidate who will support us to develop new and to extend existing design tools to design multi-material components satisfying multiple physical objectives.

Job description

Your main contributions to this research project will be to:

  • develop finite element (FE) modeling tools for physics-based forward simulation of multi-material lattice structures and to derive data-driven surrogate models to improve computational efficiency;
  • develop machine learning (ML) models to invert the design space for the allocation of materials and local geometries based on requirements;
  • implementationof filters and cost functions to constrain the design space based on e.g. material compatibility, process stability, cost, and sustainability.

Besides benchmarking and programming duties, this PhD position entails publishing high-quality journal papers, presenting at international conferences, and teaching contributions. This interdisciplinary research is conducted in a modern working environment within a young and highly motivated team. The position is partially funded by an industrial partner through a collaborative research agreement.

Your profile
  • You hold a Master’s degree in Computational Science, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, or another relevant subject, with an analytical mindset and strong computer skills.
  • You should have an excellent understanding of the FE method and the underlying mathematics, including solving partial differential equations, linear algebra, geometric analysis and numerical integration.
  • Preferably, you will have experience using commercial FEM software such as COMSOL or ABAQUS in the manufacturing domain. Experience with physical modeling using continuum mechanics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer is desired.
  • You should also have an understanding of how to train and apply ML models for classification, prediction and optimization.
  • Coding experience in C++/Python is required.
  • You have the ability to work independently and in small cross-functional teams.
  • Familiarity with collaborative coding and version control systems (e.g., git) is beneficial. Professional command of English (both written and spoken) is mandatory.

Your workplace

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

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We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our

Equal Opportunities and Diversity website

to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation
  • CV
  • Transcripts of all obtained degrees (in English)
  • Contact details of at least two referees
  • Publications list (if available)

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For more information:

1. Check out the lab website to see who we are and what we do

2. Watch this video to get an impression of our working culture

Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Mamzi Afrasiabi ( ) or Dr. Michael Tucker ( )  (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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