PhD Position in Film Thickness in Grease Lubricated Roller Bearings
University of Twente Faculty of Engineering Technology

Job description

The SKF University Technological Centre for Grease Lubrication at the University of Twente has an opening for a PhD candidate. The goal of this 4-year project is to measure and model film thickness in grease lubricated cylindrical roller bearings. This requires a thorough understanding of Elasto-Hydrodynamic Lubrication (EHL), thin film lubrication properties of oils, and grease lubrication mechanisms. The overall result is a semi-empirical model for predicting film thickness in cylindrical roller bearings for various greases, under various conditions. This project is executed in close collaboration with SKF, a leading global bearing manufacturer, and Shell, a leading global base stock and lubricant manufacturer.

The Challenge

Bearings are the most widespread machine elements after nuts and bolts. There are more than 50 billion bearings operating in the world at any time. 80-90% of bearings are grease lubricated. The reliability or life of a grease lubricated bearing is dominated by the quality of the lubricating film that separates the rolling elements (balls or rollers) from the rings. The quality of the film is determined by its thickness and ‘lubricity’. The film thickness determines the contact ‘intensity’ from the stresses caused by asperity interaction. Grease lubrication mechanisms can be complex. Unlike oil lubrication in which the contacts are fully flooded, grease lubricated contacts are often ‘starved’ (with no lubricant in some regions of the contact). Severe starvation can lead to ‘parched lubrication’. The challenge here includes developing a consistent model and practical methodology for determining film thickness in cylindrical roller bearings (CRBs).

You will:

  • study lubrication mechanisms in grease lubricated roller bearings;
  • study grease churning and bleed behavior in a roller bearing;
  • design an experimental test set-up for film thickness measurements;
  • measure film thickness in cylindrical roller bearings under various operating conditions;
  • further develop a film thickness model for cylindrical roller bearings;
  • closely collaborate with your research team colleagues at the University of Twente;
  • finish your research with a PhD thesis and publish your work in academic journals and at conferences.

Your profile

  • You hold a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering or Physics;
  • You have good experimental skills;
  • Good knowledge and demonstrated awareness of modelling using Python, C and/or MATLAB;
  • A strong analytical mind, an eye for detail, and a critical attitude towards assessment of experimental results;
  • You are passionate about learning new concepts and doing original research;
  • You are fluent in English and express yourself easily in speech and in writing.

Our offer

The UT provides a dynamic and international environment, combining the benefits of academic research with a topic of high industrial relevance, excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus. We offer:

  • A full-time 4-year PhD position;
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating international research environment with excellent facilities;
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente;
  • A starting salary of €2.434 gross per month in the first year and a salary of €3.111  in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.

Information and application

Please submit your application before November, 8th 2021 by using the “Apply now” button. Applications should at least include the following:

  • Letter of motivation and/or research interest.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • List, with grades, of courses from both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
  • References and, if applicable, a list of publications.

For more information, please contact Dr. Jude A. Osara, PE ( or Piet M. Lugt (

About the organization

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


All Jobs


Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou)

Harvard University Academic Positions

Kuwait University Current Faculty Openings

Osaka University Academic Opportunities

Purdue University Job Postings for Faculty Positions

University of Cambridge Job Openings

University of Geneva Faculty Opportunities

University of Nottingham Research Positions

University of Oslo Academic Jobs

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Positions

University of Southampton Research Vacancies

University of Tokyo Current Academic Vacancies

University of Toronto Open Faculty Positions

University of Zurich Job Postings