PhD position on Computational modeling of 3D printing of composite materials for thermal management

University of Twente
January 15, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2.541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Complex mechanical devices are increasingly manufactured based on 3D printing methods, also known as additive manufacturing. In this project, the focus is on the benefits and challenges of additive manufacturing when mixtures of metal powder and 2D nanomaterials such as graphene are considered as feedstock material for the powder from which 3D prints are made. This is believed to create new devices that, due to the inclusion of 2D nanomaterials possess intriguing new properties, among which unseen levels of thermal transport. The most promising fabrication method considered in this project is laser powder bed fusion which starts from micron-sized powder particles on which a laser beam is directed to create intense and local melting. By repeating this process ‘layer by layer' a 3D object can be fabricated in virtually any form. Apart from issues related to the strength, achievable feature sizes and durability of these devices, thermal transport plays an important role.

When powders of different materials are put together and molten under the laser beam, a whole range of interacting multiphase phenomena takes place on multiple length- and time scales that together give rise to the mechanical properties of the manufactured devices. A thorough understanding of the phenomena is crucial for the improvement of the process control, and ultimately for the quality of the devices. The details of the underlying physics and chemistry at different scales controlling the behavior of the powder during the 3D printing process are still poorly understood. This involves, e.g., the degree of spatial de-mixing of the constituents of the powder, the formation of permanent structures from the molten mixture and the resulting thermal and mechanical features of the final material.

In this project, experimental techniques and computational modeling are combined to explore additive manufacturing with this composite printing powder, also referred to as ‘ThermoDust'. The vacancy for the experimental work has been filled and we are now looking for a PhD candidate who will focus on the corresponding computational modeling of the materials and the processes. The computational modeling research will employ multiscale methods based on nonlinear systems of partial differential equations that describe the interaction between the laser and the compound printing powder. This will be used to predict process conditions under which excellent thermal and mechanical properties can be induced in the manufactured devices.

International collaboration between scientists from Ireland (Dublin), Spain (Barcelona), Italy (Milan) and the Netherlands (Twente) strengthens this project and brings in a range of expertise that broadens the scope of the work.

Your first responsibility is to carry out the research and publish your work in scientific journals and proceedings. You are also encouraged to acquire teaching experience. We support you to broaden your knowledge by joining international exchange programs, by participating in national and international conferences and workshops and by visiting industrial companies, research institutes, and universities worldwide.

Your profile
  • You are enthusiastic and highly motivated to do research in materials science aimed at a real breakthrough in thermal management.
  • You have, or will shortly, acquire a master's degree in the field of mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, or physics.
  • You have a creative mindset and excellent analytical and communication skills.
  • You have a good team spirit and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment.
  • You are proficient in English.
  • Our offer
  • As a PhD student at UT, you will be appointed to a full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating and exciting scientific environment;
  • The University offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues;
  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU);
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.541,- (first year) to € 3.247,- (fourth year);
  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other staff.
  • Information and application

    Are you interested in this position? Please send your application via the 'Apply now' button below before January 15, 2023 and include:

  • Your CV
  • A transcript of your Diploma, courses taken, and grades achieved
  • A motivation letter explaining your interest in the topic of the research, your skills toward the goals of the project and your personal traits
  • Contact information of two references that we may contact for additional consultation
  • For more information regarding this position, you are welcome to contact Dr. Davoud Jafari (, Dr. ir. Wessel Wits ( and Prof. Bernard Geurts (

    About the department

    The ThermoDust project at the University of Twente brings together scientists from the Faculties of Engineering Technology (ET) and of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS).

    The computational modeling research will focus on the 3MS group – Mathematics of Multiscale Modeling and Simulation. This group has a strong expertise in the development of accurate high-performance simulation methods, adhering to the basic structures and principles of physics and chemistry.

    About the organization

    The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) uses mathematics, electronics and computer technology to contribute to the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With ICT present in almost every device and product we use nowadays, we embrace our role as contributors to a broad range of societal activities and as pioneers of tomorrow's digital society. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

    Want to know more? Geurts, B.J. (Bernard) Geurts, B.J. (Bernard)

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Bernard for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Your Colleagues
  • Jafari, D. (Davoud)
  • Personal page

  • Wits, W. (Wessel)
  • Personal page

  • Geurts, B.J. (Bernard)
  • Personal page

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