PhD Position: Over-the-Wing Boundary-layer Ingestion of Turbofan Engines

PhD Position: Over-the-Wing Boundary-layer Ingestion of Turbofan Engines

Published Deadline Location
9 Nov 7 Dec Delft

Job description

A new airplane configuration that is currently being studied is the Flying V. With a 20% fuel-burn reduction, this new airplane configuration could yield a step-change in energy efficiency of long-haul aircraft. Building on previous research, a boundary-layer-ingestion (BLI) intake is proposed for this airplane. The proposed intake has a carry-through structure that allows the turbofan to be hung from a crane beam. This proposed integration solution has less wetted area and allows the engine to be easily exchanged by maintenance crew. However, as it ingests the boundary-layer of the upstream wing, the pressure recovery in the inlet is reduced and the fan sees a distorted inflow. The goal of this study is to investigate the aerodynamic interaction between the flow over a highly swept wing and the BLI intake of a turbofan engine.

While BLI has been studied extensively for axisymmetric inflow, the current study involves the interaction between the inlet and the flow over a highly swept wing. The high sweep angle causes cross flow inside and outside the boundary layer, which complicates the interaction with the inlet. The interaction is further complicated due to the variation in mass flow through the inlet as well as changes external aerodynamic conditions: Mach number, Reynolds number, angle of attack and sideslip angle. The question is how the pressure recovery and distortion at the fan are influenced by these variations.

To answer these questions, a study is to performed that combines aerodynamic design, CFD and wind tunnel experiments. The following steps in the research are envisioned:

  1. Aerodynamic design of a representative geometry of a BLI inlet over a swept wing
  2. Characterization of the aerodynamic flow phenomena over this geometry under various conditions using CFD
  3. Mechanical design of a wind tunnel model for the TU Delft Low-Turbulence Tunnel
  4. Aerodynamic characterization of the flow over this geometry in the wind tunnel using flow diagnostic techniques

These research activities should result in a comprehensive dissertation about BLI over swept wings. Furthermore, dissemination of the research results should be done through conference presentations/papers as well as through journal articles in well-established scientific journals.

There is a vacancy for a PhD candidate in the Flight Performance and Propulsion section where fundamental and applied research in the field of aircraft design, propulsion systems, and their integration is performed. Tools and methodology development for aircraft design is combined with system analysis and design in the area of high lift systems, open rotor propulsion, propulsion system analysis, and design and flight mechanics of unconventional aircraft. Technology development is done in strong interaction with other sections such as Aerodynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Control and Simulation and Aircraft Transport and Operation, as well as industry and research institutes.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for applicants that are passionate about research in aerodynamics and structures. Creativity is important in finding solutions to problems that arise as well as the ability to take initiative when needed. The PhD candidate will have the responsibility for the proper planning and execution of the research and therefore being able to organize yourself is also important. Finally, as the research results need to be disseminated verbally and in written form, we are looking for applicants with a good proficiency in English as well as proof of good writing skills.

The applicant should be in the possession of an MSc degree (or equivalent) in the field of Aerospace Engineering or a related field. Furthermore, the candidate should be proficient in the fundamentals of aerodynamics. Experience with numerical simulation of aerodynamic flows and experimental aerodynamics is considered an asset. Also, having experience with the modelling of geometry in a CAD program is deemed beneficial for the application.


  • An MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering or related field
  • A combination of good analytical skills and skills to use tools such as ANSYS CFX, ANSYS Fluent, and CATIA
  • Hands-on experience with wind tunnel experiments or similar experiments.
  • Ability to take responsibility for achieving research goals
  • Ability to perform research independently
  • Proficiency in the English language
  • Demonstrated academic writing skills

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

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

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 € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 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 as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

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.

About the department 

The Department of Flow Physics and Technology (FPT) is one of four departments composing the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. Experimental and numerical research on a wide variety of topics is performed in the Aerodynamics section. In the Flight Performance and Propulsion (FPP) section the main research areas are: aircraft design, propulsion system design as well as propulsion integration. Additionally, wind energy systems, from small wind turbines to large, offshore installations, are the research areas in the Wind Energy section. The department has access to comprehensive laboratories, equipped with modern wind tunnels and state-of-the-art measurement systems. Furthermore, a computer cluster is available for numerical simulations on complex aerodynamic and physical problems.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. ir. R. (Roelof) Vos via 



  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03025


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 7 December 2022 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 7 December 2022 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

Make sure to apply no later than 7 Dec 2022 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).