PhD position in Thermoplastic Composite T-Joint Welding Process Simulations – University of Twente – Enschede

University of Twente

As part of the Dutch National research program Aviation in Transition, the Production Technology group at the University of Twente has a PhD position on the simulation of a novel assembly technique for thermoplastic composites in a T-joint configuration.

Thermoplastic composite materials are considered a prime candidate for the next generation of commercial aircraft. Compared to thermoset composites, these materials offer improved toughness, improved recycling opportunities and dustless assembly through welding. Traditional welding techniques typically involve melting, pressurizing and consolidating the interface between the parts to be assembled. The resulting interfaces are resistant to shear loads, but often sensitive to peel loads. The University of Twente and the ThermoPlastic composite Research Center have developed in the past years an alternative to produce stiffened panels based on welded T-joints. The assembly technique relies on the combination of the extrusion of a polymer into a filler shape connecting the locally heated laminate and stiffener. The developments have led to a lab-scale T-joint welding set-up. The next step in the evolution of this technology towards utilization is to develop process simulation tools in order to provide a relation between process parameters and T-joint performance.

We are looking for a PhD candidate to strengthen our research team. Your research focuses on the development of a simulation model for the T-joint welding process. The work includes characterization of the thermo-rheological properties of the composite and filler material, a critical evaluation of the process and boundary conditions, and the implementation of a thermo-mechanical finite element model including the required constitutive relations. Within the project, you will collaborate with other researchers and share your results with the industrial partners.

Your profile

You are a highly motivated researcher who is driven by curiosity and has:

  • a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering or equivalent,
  • experimental and theoretical skills in polymers and fiber reinforced composites,
  • experience with the finite element method and programming experience in scripting languages like Python or Matlab,
  • proficiency in English, both spoken and written (we require a TOEFL > 90 or IELTS > 6.5 score).
  • Our offer

    We offer a full-time 4-year Ph.D. position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:

  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, a solid pension scheme, and 29 vacation in days in case of full-time employment;
  • A training program, where you and your supervisors will settle a plan for education and supervision;
  • Excellent laboratory and support facilities;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid).
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