PhD Scholarship in Fracture of Fibre Composites Under Transient Loading

Technical University of Denmark - DTU Mechanical Engineering

The Department of Mechanical Engineering, Section of Solid Mechanics at the Technical University of Denmark seeks a candidate in the Lightweight Structures group for a 3-year PhD position within “Fracture of Fibre Composites under Transient Loading”. The position is offered in cooperation with Aalborg University, Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. 

Advanced fibre reinforced composites are gaining increased popularity within blast protection of military vehicles, due to their low weight and high strength. 

Fast transient loading during blast scenarios introduces wave propagation phenomena in the material that causes delamination and fracture of the composite material. Furthermore, the elevated rate of loading also changes the load capacity of the material and changes the strain to failure. Understanding the dynamic fracture process as function of loading rate and load localization is crucial for optimizing light weight armor for military vehicles. 

The goal of the project is to experimentally assess the fracture process and develop/calibrate numerical tools that can be used for optimization of blast resistant composite panels. 

The position is part of a larger research project with focus on improving light weight armor systems for military vehicles subjected to explosions. 

Responsibilities and tasks 

  • Numerical simulation of advanced fibre composite panels subjected to air-blast
  • Modelling and simulation of fibre composites subjected to high strain rate deformation and fracture.
  • Employment of material modelling/data in comparison model against composite panel subjected to transverse distributed transient load.
  • Experimental material characterisation of composite materials at high strain rates with e.g. the Split Hopkinson Pressure bar and a high speed servo hydraulic test machine.
  • Development of test equipment for assessing the dynamic fracture toughness of fibre composites. 

Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering. 

Further qualifications: 

  • Experience/courses in fibre composites (Mandatory)
  • Experience/courses in explicit numerical simulations (LS-Dyna or similar) (Mandatory)
  • Experience/courses in experimental mechanics
  • Preferable knowledge of elastic wave propagation
  • Preferable knowledge of shockwaves
  • Scientifically curious, but also result-oriented; this research project is application driven.
  • Good communication skills in English, including the ability to write scientific publications.
  • Capable of working independently and in a team.
  • Able to work both in front of the computer and the in laboratory and field. 

The candidate must be able to obtain a security clearance from the Danish Defense, due to impact of the project on national security. 

To apply, please read the full job advertisement at 

Application deadline: 1 January 2017 

DTU Mechanical Engineering covers the fundamental engineering disciplines within Solid mechanics, Fluid mechanics, Coastal and Maritime Engineering, Energy systems and energy conversion, Materials and Surface Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Engineering design and Product development. The department has a scientific staff of about 135 persons, 100 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of about 85 persons. 

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.

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