Three PhD projects in the area of Multi-scale Mechanical Testing and Modelling of Polymer Composites in Large Structures

tirsdag 11 apr 17

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Frist 5. maj 2017
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DTU Civil Engineering, DTU Mechanical Engineering and DTU Wind Energy are  inviting applications for three 3-year PhD positions starting summer 2017 as part of an exciting project ‘Understanding Fatigue though multi-scale testing and modelling’ in the new Villum Center for Advanced Structural and Materials Testing – CASMaT.

Experience and investigations within the past decades have shown that progress in multi-scale research is only possible, if material models are based on the true physical nature of the underlying phenomena studied and if theoretical predictions are tested against experiments. It is the underlying philosophy of CASMaT to provide the tools to further close the gap between experimental investigations and modelling and to provide leading edge expertise and experimental facilities for multi-scale research and experimentation.

CASMaT is established as a collaboration between the three departments DTU Civil Engineering, DTU Mechanical Engineering and DTU Wind Energy.

Project Description
The aim of the project is to work towards the development and establishment of an operational framework, which can demonstrate that multi-scale research can be used to optimize the need for experimental testing and enable more efficient and reliable structures. The project will focus on establishing fundamental understanding of fatigue in polymer composites applied in large structures.

PhD study 1 will focus on micro-scale fatigue damage in UD laminates, i.e. in-plane fatigue. The aim of the study will be to identify and understand parameters that control the evolution of fibre failure during cyclic loading and to develop micro-mechanical models based on observed damage mechanisms. The successful candidate will be embedded in the Composites and Materials Mechanics section at DTU Wind Energy.

PhD study 2 will focus on in-plane fatigue damage mechanisms of polymer composite materials at the macro-scale. The aim of this study will be to develop macro-mechanical uni- and bi-axial fatigue laws for composite materials and demonstrate their ability to predict in-plane fatigue failure and the life-time of a sub-component or sub-structural length-scale specimen. The successful candidate will be embedded in the Lightweight Structures group in the Section for Solid Mechanics at DTU Mechanical Engineering.

PhD study 3 will focus on the fatigue behaviour of polymer composite materials at the sub-structural and structural scale. The aim of this study is to identify and characterize in-plane fatigue damage for composite materials utilizing (i) hybrid simulation techniques to facilitate sub-structural scale testing and (ii) finite element analysis to simulate the fatigue behaviour at both full-scale and sub-structural scale. The successful candidate will be embedded in the Structural and Materials Modelling Group at DTU Civil Engineering.

The three PhD studies will be closely aligned and intense interaction between the studies is anticipated. The PhD students will receive individual advice from their respective advisors, but will also work closely together as a group. Furthermore, the PhD studies will be aligned with other projects on fatigue ongoing in CASMaT.

Candidates should have a master's degree in civil, mechanical or materials engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

Preference is given to candidates that can document experience with theoretical mechanics, mechanics of structures and materials, numerical analysis and experimental mechanics.

The candidates are expected to have good background in experimental work as well as good communication and social skills. A good command of the English language is essential.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by:

PhD study 1: Head of Section, Professor Bent F. Sørensen and Associate Professor Lars Pilgaard Mikkelsen.
PhD study 2: Associate Professor Christian Berggreen and Senior Researcher Kim Branner.
PhD study 3: Deputy Head of Department, Professor, Center Leader Henrik Stang and Associate Professor Christian Berggreen.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, public-sector consultancy and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment for all three positions is 3 years.

Workplace is:

For PhD study 1: DTU Risø Campus
For PhD study 2: DTU Lyngby Campus
For PhD study 3: DTU Lyngby Campus

Further information
May be obtained from:

PhD study 1: Head of Section, Professor Bent F. Sørensen, +45 4677 5806 or Administrative Coordinator Camilla Kleis, + 45 4525 1823 (

PhD study 2: Associate Professor Christian Berggreen, or Administrative Coordinator Camilla Kleis, + 45 4525 1823 (

PhD study 3: Deputy Head of Department, Professor, Center Leader Henrik Stang +45 4525 1735 or Administrative Coordinator Camilla Kleis, + 45 4525 1823 (

Please do not send applications to these e-mail addresses, instead apply online as described below.

You can read more about the three departments here:

Wind Energy

Mechanical Engineering

Civil Engineering

You can read more about CASMaT here

Please submit your online application no later than 5 May 2017.
Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter) - This must clearly specify which of the three PhD positions you apply for
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The Department of Civil Engineering is a university department engaged in building and construction.The mission of the department is to conduct an optimal combination of education, research and industrial collaboration together with innovation. The department contributes to accomplishing social and commercial goals through the development of technological knowledge. Furthermore, the department cooperates closely with the public sector.
The vision of the department is to be one of Europe’s leading civil engineering institutions and thereby become a preferred partner in collaboration with businesses and institutions in the building sector.
DTU Mechanical Engineering covers the fundamental engineering disciplines within Solid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Coastal and Maritime Engineering, Energy Systems and Energy Conversion, Materials and Surface Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Engineering Sesign and Product Delopment. The department has a scientific staff of about 135 persons, 100 PhD students and a technical/administrative
support staff of about 85 persons.

The Department of Wind Energy is one of the world’s largest centres of wind energy research and knowledge, with a staff of more than 240 people from 37 countries working in research, innovation, research-based consulting and education. DTU Wind Energy has approximately 40 PhD students. The department’s cross-disciplinary research is organized through strategic research programmes that collaborate with Danish and international universities, research institutions and organizations, as well as the wind industry.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.