PhD Position in Materials Science
ETH Zurich

PhD Position in Materials Science

The Chair of Computational Mechanics of Building Materials in the Institute for Building Materials at ETH Zurich has an opening for a PhD student in self-emerging architected materials.
Project background

The Chair of Computational Mechanics of Building Materials (CMBM) aims to understand and predict mechanical failure in materials and structures. By combining numerical modeling tools with tailored laboratory experiments and theoretical models, we create a holistic perspective on mechanical failure, bridging the gap between material behavior at the small scale and principles governing catastrophic failure at the system level. CMBM is a highly interdisciplinary and international research team. The topics of current research projects at CMBM include uncovering the mechanisms of earthquake nucleation and arrest, building structures with topologically interlocked materials, revealing the processes governing the structural build-up of cement in additive manufacturing, determining the nano- and micro-scale processes that control cracking of concrete due to corrosion, uncovering the fundamental laws governing granular materials, and revealing the damage and fracture mechanisms in soft materials.

This position is part of a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, which will support multiple researchers, and focuses on the development of interfaces with unconventional mechanical properties.

Meta-materials, which are materials with properties resulting from their meso-structure, are commonly manufacture via 3D-printing processes. While this provides great flexibility in the design of the meta-material, it is also a relatively slow process. To overcome this limitation, this project explores an alternative approach inspired by nature, namely emerging microstructures, and aims to link the properties of the building blocks with interfacial properties of the self-assembled material structure. Through this approach, this project establishes the necessary understanding to design manufacturing processes that lead directly to the desired tailored (and potentially unconventional) material properties (e.g. fracture toughness and stickiness).
Job description

The successful candidate will develop numerical and theoretical models for the self-assembly process and the emergence of the microstructure. She/he will evaluate the mechanical properties of the resulting microstructure with numerical simulations using in-house codes and high-performance computing systems. He/she will analyze the produced data to determine the factors leading to desired material properties and establish knowledge that provides the scientific basis for the synthesis of self-emerging architected materials. If successful, the design concepts will be implemented experimentally (potentially with external collaborators) to demonstrate the potential of this manufacturing strategy.

You hold an MSc degree in mechanics, physics, (civil, mechanical, aerospace, or bio-) engineering, material science, or a related discipline and have a background in solid mechanics, applied physics and mathematics, computational sciences, or a related field. Additionally, you have prior programming experience and are fluent in English (oral and written). You show enthusiasm for conducting original research in an interdisciplinary and international team, and you strive for scientific excellence.
We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

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We value diversity
In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.
Curious? So are we.

The position is available with a flexible start date possibly as soon as possible.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

    an academic transcript/list of courses completed
    a brief statement describing your project idea relevant to the job description, making a connection to your experience and the related work from the literature
    the names and contact details of two references

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the chair can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. David Kammer by email (no applications).
About ETH Zürich
ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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