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PhD position at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate with background in continuum/experimental mechanics eager to be part of an exciting new research project: High strain rate behavior of thermoplastic composite materials for cryogenic hydrogen storage (H-FROST).


The Spanish Aerospace sector is one of the best prospect industry areas for the country, currently ranked 5th and 8th in Europe and in the world, respectively; and showing enormous potential in the highly competitive air transportation market. It represents a field of engineering in which the development of lighter structures is critical. The use of composite materials like carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) is the key to reduce the aircraft weight and therefore achieving lower fuel consumption and small carbon footprint. The environmental sustainability might be enhanced transitioning towards hydrogen as combustible and a wider use of thermoplastic based CFRPs, because they offer better recyclability compared to traditional thermosets.

The integration of green propulsion and new fuel technologies (e.g., H2 storage tanks and fuel cells) along with the use of thermoplastic CFRP (TPC) will have a major impact on the fuselage design. Considering the proximity to passengers and cargo, the material behavior under extreme conditions (i.e., hydrogen at cryogenic temperature) must be known to ensure a proper mechanical performance of the main aircraft structures affected by the ancillary systems devoted to fuel storage and distribution. Laminated composites have excellent specific mechanical properties but their behavior under high strain-rates is not optimal, specially at cryogenic temperature due to expected brittleness of the polymeric matrix. New testing and certification procedures must be developed to assure that the material is capable to deal with the extreme conditions.

H-FROST is thus replying to a direct need from the aerospace industry: the lack of knowledge regarding the mechanical properties and performance of TPCs when subjected to combined high strain rates and cryogenic temperatures.


The combination of dynamic loading and cryogenic temperature represents an open question that must be solved if composite materials must be certified to be used in new propulsion technologies based on H2 (e.g., storage tanks and aircraft structures potentially exposed to cryogenic environment and dynamic events). The aerospace sector companies are interested in the improvement of the mechanical properties of composite materials and their optimal structural use. As an example, the European aeronautic company Airbus announced recently that it is developing a new combustion engine fueled by hydrogen in preparation for entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft by 2035, in line with its ZEROe project. Therefore, it is expected that Airbus will be aggressively researching hydrogen fuel technologies in the short-term.


What we offer:

A 4 year fully-funded position for a PhD student in the LSDG group, in the Continuum Mechanics and Structural Analysis at UC3M. You will join an active and dynamic research team. The position include Spanish social security and health care benefits.



  • A master’s degree in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering mechanics, or related fields is preferred.
  • Candidates with experience in the following areas will be given priority: (i) solid mechanics; (ii) experimental mechanics; (iii) composite materials; (iv) Dynamic behavior of materials; (vi) applied mathematics; (vii) finite element simulations and programming in a higher-level language (Python, including Numpy package).
  • English verbal and written communication skills.


Research stays:

One or several national and/or international research stays will be planned at the beginning of the PhD to complete some of the specific tasks in the research planning.


Training activities:

The candidate will be enrolled in a PhD programme of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid which includes several technical and/or soft skills courses. In addition, the student will attend international conferences and other specific technical courses that could enrich his/her technical skills.


Professional and/or research experience:

Candidates with research and/or technical experience will be a plus, but not mandatory.


Letter of motivation & references

A letter of motivation stating the reasons why we should hire you should be provided. A recommendation letter from a teacher (master’s degree) or senior researcher/engineer (professional background) shall be considered positively.


Send me a message if you're interested on the job (

PDF icon HFROST_PhD.pdf924.56 KB
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