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PhD/postdoc vacancy (4 years) on computational mechanics of large wind turbine blades

Over the last years, UGent-MMS has developed the stand-alone BladeMesher software for generating finite element models of large wind turbine blades. The software reads in the material data and airfoil data of the wind turbine blade, and automatically constructs the geometry and finite element mesh for the blade. In a next step, the nodal and element information of the finite element mesh is written out to an input file for a commercial finite element solver (Abaqus in this case). As such, all features of a state-of-the-art finite element solver can be used to simulate the mechanical behaviour of the composite blade.

The concept of the BladeMesher software is described in the journal paper "Peeters, M., Santo, G., Degroote, J. and Van Paepegem, W. (2018). High-fidelity finite element models of composite wind turbine blades with shell and solid elements. Composite Structures, 200, 521-531" (

The BladeMesher software is programmed in the Python language and counts more than 30,000 lines of code.

In this project, the BladeMesher software is further developed to include additional features, such as detailed modelling of adhesive joints (with cohesive elements), implementing support for more advanced finite element types (quadratic and multi-layer solid and solid shell elements), user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) and export of data to other software packages (Hawc2, BECAS,…).

The project is funded by FWO-Vlaanderen and is a collaboration between Ghent University, Free University of Brussels (VUB) and EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland). The PhD student at Ghent University will be closely collaborating with two other PhD students at VUB and EPFL.

The PhD study at Ghent University is purely numerical, while the experimental work will be done at the two other universities.

Only candidates with a Master or PhD degree should apply. The candidate should have a strong interest in software development and finite element modelling. The candidate should have strong programming skills and computational mechanics background.

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