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Postdoc position in granular and disordered materials at the University of Michigan

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Postdoc position “Understanding structure-property relations in deformation of disordered granular solids”

Understanding, modeling, and engineering the deformation of disordered solids are challenging. A postdoc position in Dr Hongyi Xiao’s group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is available for an experimental project aiming to understand the interplay between the disordered packing structure of their composing particles and deformation dynamics such as local particle rearrangements. An experimental apparatus will be built which uses customized granular particles as a model disordered solid to study deformation. Details of the local structure and dynamics will be extracted for conventional and machine learning-based analysis to relate the microscopics to the macroscopic behavior of the material such as shear banding and fracture. The analysis can be used to inform a recently developed elastoplastic model for material modeling and design, which will be carried out in collaboration with theorists. Strategies for designing particle interactions and dynamics for advanced material properties can be discussed, as well as the implications of structure-property relations in engineering applications.


     a. PhD (or expected) in an engineering or physics
     b. Experience with soft matter experiments, especially for particle systems
     c. Knowledge of mechanics and statistical physics
     d. Skills in coding and image analysis
     e. Strong verbal and written communication skills in English

Desired Qualifications:

     a. Skills and experience with machine learning
     b. Knowledge of optics such as birefringence, as well as 3D characterization techniques

The desired stating date for the position is Sept. 1st, 2023. To apply, please send an email to Dr Xiao at with a cover letter and a CV with information of references.

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