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Netherlands:PhD Contact Mechanics, Friction and Contact Fatigue on Polymeric Surfaces
The project deals with friction and wear of polymers. During their lifetime, polymer surfaces are submitted to contact fatigue due to the large number of sliding and/or rolling cycles. Typically semi-crystalline polymers, be it unfilled or reinforced by fillers, are used. Until now friction and wear properties are investigated via the cook-and-look principle, i.e. make the material and see if it performs better. The aim of this project is to step away from this type of research and improve the knowledge and know-how in the analysis of damage mechanisms for surfaces submitted to friction and wear, firstly for unfilled polymers and in a later stage for filled polymers systems. The project is in collaboration with the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), Strasbourg, France, i.e. the Physical-Mechanics and Tribology of Polymers (PMTP).

Our part of the project focuses on finite element simulations. The simulationswill be used to tailor friction and wear properties based on a polymer’s intrinsic deformation response. Since it is impossible to perform simulations on the macroscopic level with a detail in the order of tens of nanometers, Representative Volume Elements (RVE’s) will be used instead. They reflect the heterogeneous structure of the construct and its corresponding mechanical response. Subsequently, the simulated deformation response from the RVE-level will be implemented on the macroscopic level to mimic the actual sliding friction experiments. The benefit of simulating in this manner is that we have access to local deformations.

Ultimately we would like to propose a local failure criterion, which predicts the onset of wear as observed on the macroscopic level as determined by the underlying micro-/nanostructure and a polymer’s intrinsic properties. More importantly we are striving to develop a toolkit to step away from the aforementioned cook-and-look method and arrive at direct guidelines on how to create polymers with superior friction and wear properties.


Candidates should hold an MSc degree in applied mathematics, (applied) physics, mechanical engineering or related field. A strong interest in numerical modeling using the finite element method is a requirement. Good communication skills, both written and oral, are a prerequisite as well.

Conditions of employment

Available on line at . Page 1/2

A challenging job at a dynamic and ambitious University and in an enthusiastic team. An appointment  as a PhD-student for four years. An attractive package of fringe benefits, including excellent work facilities, end of the year allowance, and sport facilities. Starting date: as soon as possible.

More information

More information about this PhD position can be obtained from Lambert van Breemen ([email protected])

If interested, please send an application letter, CV, BSc and MSc grade listings and names and contact details of at least two senior scientists able and willing to provide references. Please use the apply now button, to send your application.

Tentative Submission Deadline : 31 October 2013 Further Information

Available on line at . Page 2/2

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