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Postdoc positions at Ghent University (UGent-MMS Group)

Vacancy 1: Postdoc vacancy (3 years) on computational mechanics of thick adhesive joints in 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" (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compstruct.2018.05.091).

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 for detailed modelling of adhesive joints (with cohesive elements). Further the computational mechanics of thick adhesive joints will be studied by finite element modelling. The properties of the bulk adhesive and interaction with the composite substrates will be included in the FEM models.

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

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

Only candidates with a Master 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.

Vacancy 2: Postdoc vacancy (3 years) on (Nonlinear) Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy technique for quality control of printed metal


Additive manufacturing of metal alloys yields great potential for the aerospace industry (and others) as it allows the generation of geometrically complex structures with high specific strength, low density and high corrosion resistance. For example, General Electric has demonstrated the possibility of printing titanium fuel injectors for their LEAP engine, EADS has printed a nacelle hinge bracket for the Airbus A320, Boeing incorporated more than 300 printed parts in their 777X airplane … For such critical applications, the structural quality of printed parts is of utmost importance. Small deviations in print conditions, e.g. change in laser fluence, variation in powder quality, non-uniform gas flow, build position … may result in varying print quality, and even in inferior parts containing porosity, cracks, residual stress and geometrical deviations, amongst others. Current inspection protocol involves the use of X-rays, but this is a time-and cost-inefficient method for high-volume applications.

This 3-year RESON-AM project aims at developing a fast, practical and sensitive quality control technology for AM metal parts. The project is a close collaboration between several leading industrial partners (Materialise, Siemens and MatchID) and academia (KULeuven and UGent). The project is funded by SIM-Flanders (Strategic Initiative Materials in Flanders).

UGent will specifically focus in the project on the development and implementation of robust (non)linear resonant ultrasound spectroscopy procedures, coupled to deep learning algorithms, in order to assess the structural quality of printed metal parts in a fast and reliable manner. The current postdoc vacancy concerns the implementation and realization of a flexible and sensitive measurement platform using NI-PXIe technology. Piezo-electric sensors and/or (pulsed) lasers will be employed for excitation and subsequent acquisition of vibrations in a wide frequency bandwidth of 0-500 kHz. Both linear and nonlinear vibrational test approaches are of interest. Data analysis tools will be developed in order to interpret the (non)linear vibrational response and to extract (non)linear vibrational features (e.g. resonance parameters). These features will provide crucial information on part quality, and will give insight in the physical origin(s) of print variability.

We search a mature researcher having a strong background in vibration testing & analysis, and large experience in experimental hardware and software (LabVIEW) implementation. The researcher will closely collaborate with another researcher at UGent who focuses on deep learning tasks, as well as with the researchers of the project partners.

Contact person ?

The responsible person at Ghent University is Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM. He has 20 years of experience in mechanics of composites and finite element simulations. More information on the achievements of the research group can be found on http://www.composites.ugent.be/.

Who do we look for ?

you are interested in research and have obtained a Master and/or PhD degree,

you are interested to interact and collaborate closely with the industrial partners during the research period,

you have an education in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computational Mechanics, or similar,

you are familiar with mechanics of materials and experimental or computational techniques (depending on the specific vacancy requirement mentioned above),

mastering the Dutch language is not a prerequisite, but a good knowledge of English writing and speaking is absolutely required.

What do we offer ?

you will be working in a dynamic environment. Our group has expanded quite fast the last few years and currently, 16 postdoc's and 15 PhD students are working in our group. Besides, 18 PhD students have successfully obtained their PhD degree in the last five years,

we have extensive experimental and numerical facilities. You will have access to several Linux workstations and a high performance computing cluster to run finite element simulations on 2000+ cores,

we have good contacts with the regional composite and additive manufacturing industry and regional universities, so you will come into contact with industrial applications of composites and related research in other universities,

you will get the chance to attend international conferences (e.g. ECCM, ICCM,...) and to present papers on these conferences. For those who are interested, an international exchange with another university is possible. As publications are increasingly important (also for your career afterwards), you are encouraged to publish your results not only on international conferences, but also in peer-reviewed international journals,

you will have a personal laptop and a private workspace. All PhD students and staff have their office in the same wing of the building. The laboratories are separate in another wing of the same building,

if you are just graduated (junior PhD student), your net income is about 2150 EUR per month. That is the amount of money that is deposited on your bank account every month (after taxes). If you have a dependent wife/husband and/or children, the salary is raised. Also seniority can be taken into account if you can show former relevant experience. The salary for postdoctoral researchers starts at 2450 EUR net income per month (after taxes).

the cost for the PhD study itself is very limited. Our education system is very different from for example the system in the United Kingdom. When you start your PhD study, you pay a once-only tuition fee of ca. 1000 EUR, and the rest of your study is free of charge,

the university offers compensations for public transport (train) and bicycle. The work location can be reached easily by public transport (train and tram/bus),

a hospitalization insurance policy can be concluded,

there are a lot of sport accommodations and other benefits (reductions on computer purchase, internet connection, fitness,...) for university personnel,

there are specific organizations for the international student community in Gent. There are ISAG (International Students Association Ghent) and ESN (European Students Network). They are quite active in organizing all sorts of events (Student Unions and Societies for international students).

Recently, a "China platform" and "India platform" have been founded for the benefit of Chinese and Indian students at Ghent University.

How to apply ?

Write a detailed Curriculum Vitae in Dutch or English, containing:

Personal details (name, address, date of birth, nationality,...)

Education, subject of master thesis and degrees

Transcripts of records of Bachelor and Master degree

Work experience (previous jobs)

Additional skills (finite element software, programming languages, communication skills, ...)

Mastered languages (Dutch, English, French)

References (previous projects in the domain, published papers,...)

 Send the C.V. by post or e-mail to the following person:


Ghent University

Mechanics of Materials and Structures

Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 46

9052 Zwijnaarde


Tel.: +32-(0)9-331.04.32

Fax: +32-(0)9-264.58.33

E-mail: Wim.VanPaepegem@UGent.be

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