PhD on Erosion resistant circular materials to extend lifetime of wind turbine blades

PhD on Erosion resistant circular materials to extend lifetime of wind turbine blades

Published Deadline Location
3 Jun 15 Jul Delft

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Biologically inspired, erosion resistant coatings to extend lifetime of wind turbine blades

Job description

In the LICHEN BLADES project, through circular concepts of life extension and reuse, tackle a present and future challenge of blades: erosion resistant materials, while the circular design of future blades will lead to re-use of high value products rather than land fill bound materials.

This specific PhD project will focus on concepts to enhance the erosion resistance of wind turbine leading edges. Erosion of wind blades on the leading edge can contribute to more than 5% reduction in annual energy production of a wind turbine. Erosion predominantly occurs due to rain fall and hail impacting the leading-edge during service and can cause damage that requires down time for maintenance. Service and maintenance costs amount to large down times and significant cost due to the complexity in servicing wind blades, especially those offshore. There is a need to resist erosion damage and enable repair in a circular and automated fashion. This may be achieved passively through the novel materials, design and architecture. Reducing the need for maintenance and extending the lifetime present important scientific challenges that cover aspects of fluid-structure interactions and microscopic materials design.

The main challenge will be: Can we develop material architectures to resist erosion damage, extend blade lifetime and enable repair in a circular and automated fashion?

We aim to develop coating materials that significantly reduce erosion damage during lifetime of blades:

  • Focusing on concepts that help to i) reduce the rain droplet velocity, ii) dissipate or reflect stress waves that occur in the leading edge and iii) develop a protective coating comprising of engineered living materials that can strive in the harsh conditions experienced offshore and regenerate during use.
  • Explore these three main routes for coating development for increased erosion resistance
  • Understand and quantify the erosion resistance of the natural fibre composite coated samples

This position is part of the LICHEN BLADES project and will be jointly supervised by Julie Teuwen and Kunal Masania - Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies ( and Shaping Matter Lab (


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • Driven, enthusiastic and independent thinker
  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in aerospace engineering, materials science, materials engineering, production or mechanical engineering, biosciences, or a related subject
  • Fundamental knowledge about fluid structure interactions, metamaterials and composites is advantageous
  • An affinity to experimental work relating to additive manufacturing techniques, structural testing is preferred
  • Interest in developing scalable biologically inspired materials
  • Ability to work in a project team and take responsibility for own research goals
  • The candidate should have a very good command of English language, in direct communication as well as writing skills and should enjoy working in an interdisciplinary environment

The candidate is expected to contribute to an exciting and vibrant atmosphere in the department, and publish work of high scientific quality and participate in international conferences

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02379


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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