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PhD vacancy (4 years) on multi-scale fatigue damage modelling of unidirectional fibre-reinforced composites @ Ghent University (Belgium)

The core idea of this fundamental research project is to develop a consistent multi-scale modelling framework for fatigue damage in unidirectionally reinforced composites. Three scales are distinguished: (i) the micro-scale, where individual fibre filaments are arranged in a polymer matrix. Fatigue damage manifests itself by cracks in the polymer matrix, in the fibre/matrix interface or in the fibres themselves, (ii) the meso-scale, where a single ply of fibre-reinforced polymer is constrained by adjacent plies with different fibre orientations, and where inter-layer cracks (= delaminations) can initiate from closely spaced cracks in the individual plies, (iii) the macro-scale, where fully developed delaminations can grow further in fatigue, and stiffness degradation of one ply leads to stress redistribution in the neighbouring plies.

The initiation and propagation of individual fatigue cracks at all three scales will be modelled by cohesive zone or similar methods, where a traction-separation response for the mode I and mode II fracture of the crack is prescribed under fatigue loading. The results from the lower-scale models are then used to identify the material constants in the higher-scale models, resulting in a sequential or hierarchical multi-scale modelling framework.

Testing procedures are needed to generate reliable and consistent baseline data for multi-axial and variable-amplitude fatigue loading, that can be used as input for and validation of the developed multi-scale modelling framework. This work will be done by another PhD student at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), so the PhD vacancy in Ghent University is focused on the numerical simulation methodologies, not on the experimental testing work.

Only candidates with a Master degree should apply. The candidate should have a very strong background in computational mechanics of materials, preferably combined with knowledge composite materials and fatigue.

More information can be found on http://www.composites.ugent.be/PhD_job_vacancies_PhD_job_positions_compo...

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