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PhD position - Modelling of confinement and interfacial effects in small scale plasticity

The project is based on the well-known size effect exhibited by metals, i.e
the fact that their strengths are greatly enhanced when at least one
microstructural lengthscale is scaled down to the nanometer range or
when the size of the object is restricted to the micron or sub-micron
range. At these scales the interfaces and their associated properties
play a significant role. This project will focus on the effect of
spatial confinement on the three most common deformation mechanisms:
dislocation glide, mechanical twinning and mechanically-induced
martensitic phase transformations; and will be based on the synergies
between physically-based phenomenological modelling using
strain-gradient plasticity at the highest scale, and thorough
experimental characterisation of the micro and nano-mechanics of model
materials and systems.
The general aim of the work is to enrich the
existing phenomenological models with a physically-based description of
the confinement conditions and their evolutions. These will be
determined experimentally on a number of model systems exhibiting
various deformation mechanisms and diffrents properties of the
interfaces present within the structure.

More particularly, the computational development will be structured as follows:
- Selection and development of a crystal plasticity framework able to incorporate size effects,
- Development of a framework for modelling various types of plastic confinement conditions
- Application to several model problems for dislocation glide (with interactions with experimental teams)
- Extensions to twinning and martentitic transformations

ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles) is a full university. The project will
be carried out within its Faculty of Applied Sciences (Engineering
Faculty) as a joint project between experimental and computational
teams. The computational developments will be performed within the
Structural and Materials Computational Mechanics Group of the BATir
Department. The group currently consists of 3 full-time professors, 5
post-doctoral fellows and 10 PhD students; all active in Computational
Mechanics fields. The group has international connections with
research teams in France (ENS Cachan), The Netherlands (TUEindhoven,
TUDelft), Spain (UPC Barcelona) and Portugal (ITC Lisbon).


Interested applicants are asked to send
a motivation letter together with your CV AND academic records (grades
for all courses)
to prof. T.J. Massart ( -


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