Ph.D. position: Nanoscale testing of polishing-induced surface changes in metals

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
April 17, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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Ph.D. position: Nanoscale testing of polishing-induced surface changes in


(ref. BAP-2023-122)

Last modification : Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The work will be performed in the SCALINT division (Structural Composites and Alloys, Integrity and Nondestructive Testing) of the Department of Materials Engineering at KU Leuven, under direct supervision of Prof. J. Everaerts. At the Departement of Materials Engineering we develop and study new materials and processes to shape these materials. Changing the microstructure of a material allows developing materials with new characteristics, which leads to new applications. The Materials Performance and Nondestructive Testing group (part of SCALINT) investigates the long-term behaviour and reliability of materials. Damage development during different loading types is studied, using multiscale destructive, nondestructive and advanced monitoring techniques.

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Mechanical polishing is commonly used for both surface finishing and metallographic sample preparation for a broad range of materials. In metals, however, polishing leads to the formation of a modified surface layer due to plastic deformation, which also induces subsurface residual stress. This has an impact on many material properties and on characterization techniques that rely on surface measurements. In this FWO-funded project, the Ph.D. student will investigate the effect of polishing and material parameters on polishing- induced surface alteration for a strategic range of metallic specimens.

The main challenge of the project involves the implementation of cutting-edge & novel nanoscale surface analysis techniques. The Ph.D. candidate will thus have the chance to become an expert in the exciting field of micro- and nanomechanical materials characterization & testing.


We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic and communicative Ph.D. candidate. You must have (or be close to completion of) a Master degree in Materials Science/Engineering or a closely related field. You should have obtained excellent study results and be able to work independently as well as in collaboration with other researchers.

Candidates should be interested in micro- and nanomechanical testing. Experience with experimental work, in particular with materials characterization techniques, is considered as a strong advantage. Specific experience with nanoindentation, electron microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction and/or focused ion beam milling is a plus.

Applicants should have excellent oral and written English communication skills. Knowledge of Dutch is an advantage but is not required. The successful candidate is also expected to contribute to education at the Bachelor or Master level (master thesis supervision, guiding exercise or practical sessions etc.).


We offer:

  • A doctoral scholarship, fully funded within an approved national (FWO) project for four years, and a Ph.D. degree in Engineering Science if successful.

  • An inclusive and international working environment.

  • An opportunity to do innovative research using state-of-the-art infrastructure at a top European university.

  • Multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, self-development through skills training courses etc.).

  • Participation in research collaborations and international conferences.

  • Application deadline: April 17, 2023

    First step - selection based on application file: April 30, 2023

    Second step - interview with shortlisted candidates: May 2023

    Decision & notification of result: end of May - beginning of June 2023 at the latest.

    The Ph.D. starting date is preferably September 1st, 2023 or sooner.

    Please apply only via the KU Leuven Jobsite. Application files sent directly via e-mail will not be considered.


    For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Joris Everaerts, tel.: +32 16 37 65 15, mail: [email protected]

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected]

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