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Home > Job vacancies



Last updated: 29 November, 2016

NEW : One PhD vacancy and two Postdoctoral vacancies for 2017


Clearly mention in all your communication the number of the vacancy you are applying for !


Where ?

All vacancies are available in the "Mechanics of Materials and Structures" research group at Ghent University. The offices and laboratories of this group are situated in the south of Ghent (Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 903, 9052 Zwijnaarde).

Duration ?

All vacancies are full-time job positions. For the duration, see below.

Job description ?

  • Vacancy 1: PhD vacancy (4 years) on vibration-based NDT techniques for composite inspection

    The aim of this project is to develop robust NDT (NonDestructive Testing) methods that can detect defects in composite parts that are produced with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, ranging from autoclave production in aerospace industry up till high-volume production techniques in automotive sector. There is a very strong need for such NDT methods, because although ultrasound inspection is considered to be the most accurate NDT technique today, it still suffers from many limitations :

    • it is slow, because it is a point-wise measurement (in reflection or transmission) and inspection times of 15 minutes up to a few hours are very common for larger composite parts,
    • the robot that mounts the ultrasound sensor (or phased array) needs to be programmed to obtain an optimized scanning path for every composite part, and for larger parts, this can take a few weeks of programming,
    • hidden defects (e.g. in skin-stringer connections or in internal stiffeners) are also for ultrasound a big challenge,
    • parts with complex geometry and sharp corners are difficult to handle for ultrasound, and are still inspected manually. Also sandwich panels are difficult to inspect due to the large scattering of the waves.

    These considerations led to the conception of this project proposal. The general goal is to develop novel NDT techniques that can detect defects in composite parts with industrial complexity, and this within a limited inspection time so that inspection of composite components in volume production becomes feasible. Corresponding numerical models will be developed to support the development of the NDT techniques and to interpret the NDT data. Three classes of NDT techniques are investigated: (i) high frequency vibration techniques (Local Defect Resonance), (ii) vibro-acoustic methods and (iii) thermal imaging methods (the postdoctoral vacancy #2 below is linked to this topic).

    Our research group UGent-MMS is coordinator of this project. Other research partners are KULeuven-PMA and VUB-MeMC in Belgium. The project has an Industrial Advisory Board, consisting of a wide range of companies (Siemens, Honda, Sabca, Engie Labs, Eddy Merckx Cycles, Optomet). The PhD student in UGent-MMS will focus on the high frequency vibration techniques and develop a robust NDT method that can be applied to composite components with a complex geometry, by combining laser vibrometry and thermographic methods. He/she will also focus on the development and interaction of appropriate hardware, data-acquisition and software to set-up an inspection system that can be transferred to an industrial environment. There is investment budget available for buying a high-end vibrometer and thermographic camera. The PhD student will be assisted by two postdoctoral research fellows. The research group has also a wide expertise in NDT methods and mechanical characterization of composites.

    Only candidates with a Master degree should apply. The candidate should have a strong background in nondestructive testing methods of materials, preferably combined with knowledge of composite materials and vibration-based methods.

  • Vacancy 2: Postdoctoral vacancy (3 years) on thermography-based NDT techniques for composite inspection

    The aim of this project is to develop robust NDT (NonDestructive Testing) methods that can detect defects in composite parts that are produced with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, ranging from autoclave production in aerospace industry up till high-volume production techniques in automotive sector. There is a very strong need for such NDT methods, because although ultrasound inspection is considered to be the most accurate NDT technique today, it still suffers from many limitations :

    • it is slow, because it is a point-wise measurement (in reflection or transmission) and inspection times of 15 minutes up to a few hours are very common for larger composite parts,
    • the robot that mounts the ultrasound sensor (or phased array) needs to be programmed to obtain an optimized scanning path for every composite part, and for larger parts, this can take a few weeks of programming,
    • hidden defects (e.g. in skin-stringer connections or in internal stiffeners) are also for ultrasound a big challenge,
    • parts with complex geometry and sharp corners are difficult to handle for ultrasound, and are still inspected manually. Also sandwich panels are difficult to inspect due to the large scattering of the waves.

    These considerations led to the conception of this project proposal. The general goal is to develop novel NDT techniques that can detect defects in composite parts with industrial complexity, and this within a limited inspection time so that inspection of composite components in volume production becomes feasible. Corresponding numerical models will be developed to support the development of the NDT techniques and to interpret the NDT data. Three classes of NDT techniques are investigated: (i) high frequency vibration techniques (Local Defect Resonance) (see PhD vacancy above), (ii) vibro-acoustic methods and (iii) thermal imaging methods.

    Our research group UGent-MMS is coordinator of this project. Other research partners are KULeuven-PMA and VUB-MeMC in Belgium. The project has an Industrial Advisory Board, consisting of a wide range of companies (Siemens, Honda, Sabca, Engie Labs, Eddy Merckx Cycles, Optomet). The postdoctoral researcher in UGent-MMS will focus on the thermography-based techniques and develop a robust NDT method that can be applied to composite components with a complex geometry, by combining thermographic methods with calibration by numerical simulations. He/she will also focus on the development and interaction of appropriate hardware, data-acquisition and software to set-up an inspection system that can be transferred to an industrial environment. There is investment budget available for buying a high-end thermographic camera. The research group has also a wide expertise in NDT methods and mechanical characterization of composites.

    Only candidates with a PhD degree should apply. The candidate should have a strong background in thermography (proved by PhD thesis or other experience), preferably combined with knowledge of composite materials and finite element simulations.

  • Vacancy 3: Postdoctoral vacancy (3 years) on multi-scale modelling of fatigue in 3D printed metals

    Since its development in 1983, 3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) has received a lot of attention as a potentially ground-breaking technology. Several companies are already investigating the use of AM for structural applications: GE has demonstrated the possibility of printing titanium fuel injectors for their LEAP engine, EADS has printed a nacelle hinge bracket for the Airbus A320, Boeing is printing plastic inlet ducts for high-altitude aircrafts, hip implants and other prosthetics are exploiting the design freedom of AM,...

    AM of metal alloys yields great potential for the aerospace industry (and others) as it allows the generation of geometrically complex structures with high specific strength, low density and high corrosion resistance. The static mechanical properties of AM metals are well-documented. However, most structural parts will eventually be exposed to cyclic fatigue loads. While factors-of-safety and regular inspection can mitigate the risks of failure, understanding the fatigue behavior is essential to fully exploit the capabilities of AM. A study by the US Air Force has indicated high-cycle fatigue as the single biggest cause of turbine engine failures in military aircrafts (extensively using the Ti-6Al-4V alloy). For titanium-based bio-medical applications, the importance of fatigue behavior has resulted in the definition of a dedicated standard (ISO 7206). The understanding of the fatigue behavior of AM metal alloys is presently limited to basic S-N curves (showing the relation between applied stress level 'S' and number of cycles before failure 'N') and investigation on influencing parameters. As the domain of fatigue on additively manufactured metals is still relatively young, several research topics remain unexplored.

    The goal of this postdoctoral research is to develop numerical tools to design and improve the design of AM structural components for safe fatigue life. The simulation technology of these tools will be based on the SN Curve database and on multi-scale modelling techniques covering Micron-level (micro-scale) such as for inclusions and porosities, Sub-millimeter-level (meso-scale) for surface roughness (up to 100 micron) and notch effect by sharp corners, and finally, Macroscopic scale. One of the goals of the micro-scale modelling is to execute a sensitivity analysis on the influence of porosities / inclusions on the mechanical performance. In analogy to prior work on fatigue modelling of composites, also for AM a 'smart' S-N curve approach will be researched to reduce the need for identification of SN curves for the various influencing factors on fatigue properties of AM produced components also allowing to reduce knock-down factors for all variability issues.

    This vacancy at Ghent University focuses on the simulation part, developing multi-scale prediction tools for safe fatigue life of AM metals. Experimental support will be provided by KULeuven-PMA, who is responsible for the fatigue testing of the AM metals. In addition, further support will be given by a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University who will focus specifically on the multi-axial fatigue of AM metals. It is clear that the postdoctoral researcher will interact closely with all these researchers during the project. For the numerical method development, the postdoctoral researcher will closely collaborate with Siemens that is coordinator of this project. There will also be continuous interaction with other companies that are involved in this project (Materialise, 3D Systems, Atlas Copco, Engie Labs,...).

    Only candidates with a PhD degree should apply. The candidate should have a strong background in multi-scale modelling, preferably combined with experience with additively manufactured metals and/or fatigue of metals.

Contact person ?

The responsible person at Ghent University is Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM. He has 15 years of experience in mechanics of composites and finite element simulations. More information on the achievements of the research group can be found on http://www.composites.ugent.be/.

Who do we look for ?

  • you are interested in research and have obtained a Master and/or PhD degree,
  • you are interested to interact and collaborate closely with the industrial partners during the research period,
  • you have an education in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computational Mechanics, or similar,
  • you are familiar with mechanics of materials and computational techniques,
  • former experience with advanced computational mechanics is an advantage,
  • mastering the Dutch language is not a prerequisite, but a good knowledge of English writing and speaking is absolutely required.

What do we offer ?

  • you will be working in a dynamic environment. Our group has expanded quite fast the last few years and currently, 10 postdoc's and 19 PhD students are working in our group. Besides, 18 PhD students have successfully obtained their PhD degree in the last five years,
  • we have extensive experimental and numerical facilities. You will have access to several Linux workstations and a high performance computing cluster to run finite element simulations on 2000+ cores,
  • we have good contacts with the regional composite industry and regional universities, so you will come into contact with industrial applications of composites and related research in other universities,
  • you will get the chance to attend international conferences (e.g. ECCM, ICCM,...) and to present papers on these conferences. For those who are interested, an international exchange with another university is possible. As publications are increasingly important (also for your career afterwards), you are encouraged to publish your results not only on international conferences, but also in peer-reviewed international journals,
  • you will have a personal laptop and a private workspace. All PhD students and staff have their office in the same wing of the building. The laboratories are separate in another wing of the same building,
  • if you are just graduated, your net income is about 1850 EUR per month. That is the amount of money that is deposited on your bank account every month. If you have a dependent wife and/or children, the salary is raised. Also seniority can be taken into account if you can show former relevant experience,
  • the cost for the PhD study itself is very limited. Our education system is very different from for example the system in the United Kingdom. When you start your PhD study, you pay a once-only tuition fee of 290 EUR, and the rest of your study is free of charge,
  • the university offers compensations for public transport (train) and bicycle. The work location can be reached easily by public transport (train and tram/bus),
  • a hospitalization insurance policy can be concluded,
  • there are a lot of sport accommodations and other benefits (reductions on computer purchase, internet connection, fitness,...) for university personnel,
  • there are specific organizations for the international student community in Gent. There are ISAG (International Students Association Ghent) and ESN (European Students Network). They are quite active in organizing all sorts of events (Student Unions and Societies for international students).
    Recently, a "China platform" and "India platform" have been founded for the benefit of Chinese and Indian students at Ghent University (see China platform and India Platform).

How to apply ?

  • you write a detailed Curriculum Vitae in Dutch or English, containing:
    • your personal details (name, address, date of birth, nationality,...)
    • your education, subject of master thesis and degrees
    • your work experience (previous jobs)
    • additional skills (finite element software, programming languages, communication skills, ...)
    • mastered languages (Dutch, English, French)
    • references (previous projects in the domain, published papers,...)

  • you send the C.V. by post or e-mail to the following person:
    Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM
    Ghent University
    Mechanics of Materials and Structures
    Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 903
    9052 Zwijnaarde
    Belgium
    Tel.: +32-(0)9-331.04.32
    Fax: +32-(0)9-264.58.33
    E-mail: Wim.VanPaepegem@UGent.be

Additional information ?

  • you can freely download our research brochure. This PDF-document contains a lot of pictures and impressions of our research activities. You can find it on the webpage http://www.composites.ugent.be/ftp/brochure_UGent_MMS.pdf
  • you can contact Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM for any additional information, either by phone or e-mail or a personal appointment.