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PhD vacancy (3 years) on experimental testing of thermoplastic automotive composites

Thermoplastic composites are gaining more and more interest in automotive, aerospace and sports applications, because of the short cycle times and recycling possibilities. Besides short fibre-reinforced thermoplastics, also continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites are being considered for load-carrying structures. However, their behaviour during manufacturing and during in-service use is very different from the traditional thermoset composites (typically epoxy-based). The mechanical properties of thermoplastic composites are much more sensitive to temperature and loading rate. The combined effect of temperature and loading rate complicates the modelling of the elasto-plastic response of thermoplastic composites. Moreover, thermoplastic composites with a semi-crystalline polymer matrix can have varying degrees of crystallinity, depending on the processing conditions.

 UGent-MMS has a PhD vacancy for 3 years on a large research project with a strong industrial consortium. The purpose is to characterize the thermomechanical behaviour of thermoplastic composites, by combining a diverse set of experimental testing methods (DSC, DMA, mechanical testing at different temperatures and strain rates). Those tests should be combined with dedicated instrumentation methods to provide valuable insights into the thermomechanical behaviour of thermoplastic composites.

The PhD study is a purely experimental PhD, focussed on mechanical characterization of those composites. The composite material will be supplied by the industrial partners. The PhD researcher will be closely working together with two other researchers (1 PhD and 1 postdoc) in our research group who will do the modelling part.

Only candidates with a Master degree in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Civil Engineering, (Applied) Physics or similar should apply. You are interested to perform experimental research and to interact and collaborate with industry.

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