PhD on experimental and theoretical investigation of organic aerogel formation

PhD on experimental and theoretical investigation of organic aerogel formation

Published Deadline Location
22 Feb 25 May Eindhoven

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Job description

Aerogels are advanced structural materials with low density, meso-microstructure, high open porosity and specific surface area.  They are typically prepared from suitable wet gels by turning the pore-filling solvent into a supercritical fluid that is vented off. Thanks to their excellent characteristic, aerogels are the best lightweight thermal-insulating materials which can be used for energy and resource efficient buildings and housing construction with reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, aerogels can be envisioned as advanced materials for energy storage applications, chemical adsorption, catalytic and aerospace applications.

In this program we aim to pave the way towards the next generation of organic aerogels with outstanding properties. The research activities include optimization of polymer structure and aerogel properties as well as the understanding of correlation between the chemistry, sol-gel process and the final aerogel properties. Key elements in this project are the fundamental understanding of the sol-gel and gel-aerogel transitions and the importance of the gelation solvent and kinetics of the employed materials, and they are essential for the development of new aerogels with outstanding performance. This requires in-depth analysis of the evolution of the structure and properties of materials in real time. This challenge will be addressed experimentally as well as by means of theoretical modelling to quantify the polymeric sol-gel and gel-aerogel transitions during formation of aerogels and gain understanding of the role of the gelation solvent. We aim at optimising polymer structures to arrive at desired aerogel properties. The nano- and meso-structures that evolve during the sol-gel-aerogel process will be studied using various advanced characterization techniques and studies at the molecular level (NMR, GC-MS, IR, XRD, SAXS), primary nanoparticle level (DLS, TEM) and the mesoscopic assembly level (SEM, TEM), over different time scales. This will be input for further model development on predicting, understanding and being able to tune the structures of aerogels and their functionality, such as the thermal conductivity of them.

The research will be conducted in close collaboration between two TU/e research groups: Polymer Performance Materials (SPM) and Physical Chemistry (SPC) which are part of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e (The Netherlands). A description of the groups can be found here.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • We seek highly talented, motivated, and enthusiastic candidates with an MSc degree in physical chemistry, polymer chemistry, organic chemistry, or a related discipline.
  • The successful candidate has a solid background in physical and polymer chemistry.
  • Experience with experimental colloid science is essential. Insight into theoretical modelling or experience with using theory is desirable.
  • Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are highly desired.
  • Excellent communication (oral and writing) skills in English (prerequisite).
  • You are a naturally curious person, eager to learn more and with a strong interest in science and research.
  • We prefer candidates with a good team spirit, who like to work in an internationally oriented, social environment.

Interviews, a scientific presentation and a small writing assignment will be part of the selection procedure.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale 27 (min. €2,541 max. €3,247).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V37.6385


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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