PhD position Valorization of particulate waste materials in construction materials in cold climates

torsdag 07 sep 17

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Frist 28. september 2017
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DTU Civil Engineering is inviting applications for a 3-year PhD position starting 2017 in  ‘Valorization of particulate waste materials in construction materials in cold climates’
Secondary resources are gaining increased interest in the construction sector. A consequence of the warmer climate in the Arctic is a more extensive activity in the industrial sector, which implies a higher use of construction materials.  At the same time, some of these industrial activities introduce new waste materials to be handled in the Arctic and has the potential for use as secondary resources in the local construction sector. It is necessary to increase the knowledge of the effects of these waste materials in relation to the construction materials’ technical properties and durability and environmental impacts of long term use in a harsh environment. 

This PhD is offered through the Nordic 5 Tech alliance, co-supervised by NTNU and Chalmers. Research stays at both of these universities is required for the successful PhD candidate.

Project Description
The main objective of this PhD is to identify potentials for valorization of fly ash and mine tailings in cold climate areas. The focus will on the fate of the metals Zn, Pb and Cu when fly ash or mine tailings are used in concrete after different pre-treatment methods and the concrete’s durability.

Some of the tasks in the PhD project:

  • Extraction of valuable elements (Zn, Pb and Cu) from the waste residues, fly ash and mine tailings, with different laboratory techniques, electrodialytic and chemical extraction, characterization of the waste residues and evaluation of the environmental leaching impact before and after extraction treatment
  • Incorporation of the treated materials in concrete and study of the mechanical properties of the concrete and the release of contaminants for assessing to which degree they are incorporated into the concrete
  • Evaluation of the durability of the concrete in harsh climates by investigating the response to freezing cycles and weathering
  • Evaluation of long term environmental impacts investigated by leaching experiments of fresh and weathered concrete samples including long-term modelling of metal leaching
Candidates should have a master's degree in environmental, chemical, civil or materials engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering. Candidates with knowledge in material testing or heavy metal remediation will be preferred.
The candidates are expected to have good background in experimental work and be interested in an experimentally based PhD working both in chemical and material testing laboratories. The PhD candidate should also have 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 Associate professor Gunvor M. Kirkelund at the section for Arctic Engineering and Sustainable Solutions, DTU, Professor Mette R. Geiker, NTNU and Professor Britt-Marie Steenari, Chalmers.

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 the position is 3 years.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from associate professor Gunvor Marie Kirkelund, Section of Arctic Engineering and Sustainable Solutions +45 45 25 17 30 or

Workplace is DTU Lyngby Campus. Compulsory research stays at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway and at Chalmers in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Please submit your online application no later than 28 September 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)
  • 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 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.