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Last updated: 10 July, 2017

NEW : PhD and Postdoc vacancy on thermographic inspection of composites for Fall 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 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.

    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 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. A high-end lockin thermography system is currently being purchased for this project.

    The PhD student will be assisted by two postdoctoral research fellows (see vacancy below for one of them). 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 thermography 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. A high-end lockin thermography system is currently being purchased for this project. 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.

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.