PhD Scholarship in Breaking Waves and their Interaction with Offshore Structures

Technical University of Denmark - DTU Mechanical Engineering

The Section of Fluid Mechanics, Coastal and Maritime Engineering (FVM) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (DTU Mekanik) at the Technical University of Denmark has an open PhD position on the subject “Breaking waves and their interaction with offshore structures”.

The main research areas of the FVM Section are fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics, and the interaction with structures and seabed. The methods applied include theoretical, numerical, and experimental modelling, and these methods are used for determining the behaviour of flows, including their impact on surrounding structures. Examples of technical applications include the scavenging process in two-stroke diesel engines, estimation of sediment transport, coastal morphology, and determination of wave loads on ships and off shore structures.

Extreme storm wave events can represent a great threat to coastal and offshore structures. Many older platforms in the sea may have been exposed to subsidence, which makes them more exposed to wave impact. Experiences from the North Sea have revealed that breaking waves occur much more frequently than originally anticipated even in relatively deep water. This might result in higher loading than originally designed for, especially for the upper structure and upper structural elements. The PhD scholarship is part of a collaboration between DTU-MEK and DHRTC through the project “Dynamics of extreme waves and their interaction with offshore structures”.

Responsibilities and tasks

This project will develop a model that will be used to study breaking wave kinematics an interaction with offshore structures. The mixture of air and water will have a lower density than the water below the mixture of air and water and therefore the exchange of momentum with lower laying water will be reduced. This phenomenon has an effect on the entire dynamics in the broken wave and therefore also on the wave kinematics.

Free surface modelling in OpenFOAM is typically based on a two-phase concept, which makes it difficult to distinguish between the air-entrainment that is found from the model and directly from the mixture of the two phases. The formulation of the free surface shall be extended to a single-phase model (the water) with a void region representing the air. In this way, the air-entrainment model rather than the unspecified mixture between the two models govern the air-entrainment.

The developed model will be calibrated against physical experiments of breaking waves and/or against a stationary breaking wave such as the hydraulic jump. The model will be used to analyse breaking wave forces. Further, the results are expected to improve current force models.


To apply, please read the full job advertisement at

Application deadline: 26January 2018 (local time).

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 11,000 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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