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Home > Job vacancies

Last updated: 11 October, 2014

One new postdoc vacancy on multi-scale modelling of the vibration/NVH response of composites for Spring 2015

Where ?

The postdoc vacancy is 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 ?

The postdoc vacancy is a full-time job position for 30 months. The position is split between our university in Ghent and the Catholic University of Leuven. The candidate will be required to spend the second half of his contract in Leuven (80 km from Ghent).

Job description ?

Nowadays, there is an increasing interest to use composite materials in automotive applications, in particular the use of fibre-reinforced plastics (carbon or glass fibres in a polymer matrix) is widely considered. The use of lighter materials, and hence a reduced fuel consumption, can be one of the possible solutions for reduced CO2 emissions. As the automotive industry is mainly familiar with metals and plastics, a lot of research is being spent on the mechanical response of composites under fatigue and impact loading, and on developing new design methodologies for these "new" materials. Also, the design cycle is much shorter than in aerospace industry, so faster design and calculation methodologies are needed. Apart from these investigations, the use of composite materials in automotive applications has also other consequences. The so-called NVH (= Noise / Vibration / Harshness ) requirements have to be imposed to composite components as well, to guarantee a good acoustic comfort for the driver and passengers. However, the NVH behaviour of composites is not well understood, and due to the visco-elastic behaviour of its polymer matrix, the vibration and damping response of composite panels can be very different from the behaviour of metallic panels.

In this project, it is the purpose to investigate and validate multi-scale modelling strategies to predict the vibration and damping behaviour of composite panels. The approved research project is a collaboration between Ghent University, KULeuven, Siemens, Toyota and Nitto. The project is called "Design and analysis of the NVH behavior of lightweight panel and material systems using advanced CAE tools". Modelling strategies have to be developed to predict the complex stiffness moduli (storage modulus and loss modulus) of composites in their different orthotropic directions, based on two ingredients:

  • a representative unit cell model of the fibre reinforcement architecture of the composite (e.g. unidirectional reinforcement, plain weave, twill weave,)
  • a visco-elastic frequency-dependent material model for the polymer matrix
By proper homogenization methods, the frequency-dependent stiffness and damping of the homogenized composite is predicted and can be used in early design simulations. In a second phase, the method will be validated on more complex components in a sound box, where acoustic measurements and finite element simulations will be compared. Furthermore, the unit-cell modelling of bare FRP models will be extended to unit-cell models also including the add-on layer.

The open position is a full-time postdoctoral position for 30 months, split over Ghent University (15 months) and KULeuven (15 months). We are looking for one physical person, who will do the first half of the research in Ghent and the second half of the research in Leuven (both cities are 80 km from each other, both in Flanders, Belgium). The research work will consist of:

  • measurement of resonance frequencies and modal damping of different composite panels
  • creation of geometrical and finite element unit-cell models for those composites
  • development of suitable visco-elastic material models for the polymer matrix
  • development of homogenization methods for frequency-dependent stiffness and damping
  • measurement of the acoustic response of more complex composite components also including an add-on layer in a sound box
  • validation of the acoustic measurements with finite element simulations.

The "Mechanics of Materials and Structures" research group at Ghent University (Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM) has 30-years experience with mechanics of composites, and recently developed also test set-ups and finite element simulations for modal vibration and damping of composite panels.
The "Noise and Vibration Engineering" research group of the KU Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering (Prof. Wim Desmet) has a long-term experience in experimental and numerical techniques for structural dynamic and vibro-acoustic analysis of materials and systems, with focus on automotive, aerospace and industrial machinery applications (https://www.mech.kuleuven.be/en/pma/research/mod). These activities have led a.o. to the foundation of spin-off company LMS International, now Siemens PLM Software, with whom a close collaboration will be set-up in the present project, leading to new simulation methodologies for the NVH behaviour of composite panels.

Only candidates with a PhD degree should apply. The candidate should combine a background in computational mechanics of composites (preferably multi-scale modelling) with knowledge in the field of vibrations/acoustics or visco-elastic and frequency-dependent behaviour of polymers.

Supervisors ?

The supervisor 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/.
The supervisor at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven) will be Prof. Wim DE SMET.

Who do we look for ?

  • you are interested in research and have obtained a PhD degree,
  • you are interested to interact and collaborate closely with the industrial partners during the research period,
  • you have a PhD Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Science, 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, 8 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 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
    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.