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PhD vacancy (4 years) on the ultrasonic polar scan method for non-destructive testing of composites @ Ghent University (Belgium)

Non-destructive testing (NDT) refers to techniques that are used in the life-cycle of a structural component to investigate their quality, functionality and 'health' without destroying the object, nor affecting its properties. The continuous development of more advanced materials, like fiber reinforced plastics, requires new and more sophisticated NDT techniques. One such an innovative NDT technique is the Ultrasonic Polar Scan (UPS) which has recently been developed, both experimentally and numerically, in our research group. The UPS analyzes the reflected or transmitted ultrasonic signals for a wide range of azimuthal and polar angles. The recorded information (amplitude, phase, or time-of-flight) provides a fingerprint of the local material properties. The UPS method has already been successfully applied for the (visco-)elastic characterization of metals, plastics as well as unidirectional fiber reinforced plastics.

In addition, the UPS technique is also highly sensitive to different types of complex damage features, such as fiber distortion, fatigue damage, delamination, corrosion ... This 4-year project involves both experimental and numerical research, and will extend the current status of the UPS research on three levels:

  • Identification of material properties (stiffness, attenuation, layering, orientation) for multilayer fiber reinforced plastics.
  • Implementation of a nonlinear version of the UPS to increase its sensitivity to early-stage damage features and kissing bonds.
  • Practical redesign of the current laboratory set-up to obtain an efficient inspection tool which may be used in industry.

This vacancy at Ghent University focuses more on the experimental part and less on the numerical part. Numerical support will be provided by a PhD student at KULAK-KULeuven, who will start in August 2015. In addition, further support will be given by a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University (starts in October 2015) who will focus on the further development of the UPS technique. It is clear that you will interact closely with these 2 researchers during the project.

Only candidates with a Master degree should apply. The candidate should have a background in ultrasonics and nondestructive testing, preferably combined with knowledge of fiber reinforced plastics.

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