PhD position: Effect of surface structure/curvature on gas-bubble statics & dynamics in multi-phase flow

PhD position: Effect of surface structure/curvature on gas-bubble statics & dynamics in multi-phase flow

Published Deadline Location
30 Mar 16 Apr Delft

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Job description

As our society tries to switch to a future with more sustainable sources of energy, there is strong focus on efficient production of hydrogen as the ‘fuel of the future’, as well as on reducing the threat of CO2 by converting CO2 to other sub-products. Both these processes are usually carried out in an electrochemical cell. The efficiency of H2 production, or of CO2 reduction processes, depends on efficient (spontaneous of forced) removal of the gas bubbles. Researchers have attempted to create physically- and chemically-patterned electrodes in order to facilitate efficient removal of the gas bubbles from them. The physically-patterned electrodes usually include structures of specific aspect ratio (as in, the width of pillars with the depth of the valleys) and try to profit from the equilibrium energy state of a gas bubble (characterized e.g., by Cassie-Baxter, or Wenzel configurations) and have garnered strong attention from experimentalists. However, the strong interest has not culminated into a successful or universal recipe of producing such electrodes, since the research community lacks the knowledge of the nature of the behavior of such gas bubbles, switching from one equilibrium energy state to other, while moving on a third (solid) phase. A theoretical framework that addresses the complex interplay of the statics and dynamics of such gas bubbles, especially as a function of a physical structure, just does not exist. This PhD project will combine theoretical and numerical work to look at, first the non-dynamic behavior  then the dynamics of gas bubbles in a three-phase (solid-liquid-gas) system on (regular) structures on electrodes.


There is a second, auxiliary part of this PhD project which focusses on improving the quality of education at a technical university such as TU Delft. The Modelling cycle, which describes the complex, step-by-step process of translating a real-life problem into a mathematical representation, solve the mathematical problem in question and interpret the result in the context of the original problem from practice, forms the basis of much of higher education in Physics and Engineering. It is known that formative treatment of a classroom for such a course involving modelling cycle can be very advantageous, but the ‘retention’ of knowledge by the students, when subjected to a formative (feedback) framework has not been quantified. In this auxiliary project, the PhD is expected to work closely with Dr. Bijoy Bera and the Mathematics department of TU Delft, for developing a theory to quantify retention of knowledge by students undergoing a formative framework in their courses involving modelling cycle.


The PhD is expected to spend, overall, 4 years on the bubble project and 1 year on the education project.   


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in Applied Physics/Engineering Physics/Chemical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering/Applied Mathematics or related discipline. Expertise in fundamentals of interfacial science as well as computational techniques, with a focus on developing theory and running simulations is necessary. Good programming skills in e.g. Matlab, Python, C++. Experience in methods such as free energy  (theoretical) and Volume of Fluid/Lattice Boltzmann Method (Numerical) is highly welcome, but not strictly necessary. In addition, we are interested in candidates with a passion for making advances in the education of science and technology.

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 Admissions Requirements. 

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 5 years.

This doctoral candidate will be offered a 5-year period of employment, 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 3,5 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 final 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 has a strong foundation. As the builder of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneer in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university that combines science, engineering and design. TU Delft stands for world-class education, research and innovation to meet challenges in the fields of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. Generations of Delft engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem solvers in business and social contexts. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and strive to be as inclusive as possible (see our code of conduct). Together we devise and develop solutions that have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!



With more than 1,000 employees, including 135 pioneering principal investigators, and approximately 3,400 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Our faculty focuses on key technologies, such as quantum and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology, and energy storage and conversion materials, providing solutions to key problems of the 21st century. To this end, we train students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programs with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct pioneering fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers and science educators.

As part of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, the Chemical Engineering department ( conducts fundamental and applied research that focuses on chemical-technological innovations. In addition, the education department in the BSc and MSc programs Molecular Science &; Technology and Chemical Engineering and the PDEng programs Chemical Engineering. The department consists of approximately 300 employees: professors, associate professors, postdocs, PhD candidates and students who are supported by technical and administrative staff.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03714


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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