Postdoc in Aerothermal Management Systems of Fuel-cell Powered Aircraft: Innovative Aerodynamic Solutions

Postdoc in Aerothermal Management Systems of Fuel-cell Powered Aircraft: Innovative Aerodynamic Solutions

Published Deadline Location
23 Aug 1 Oct Delft

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Design innovative aerodynamic solutions for the next-generation thermal management systems of fuel-cell powered aircraft.

Job description

Integrating fuel-cell driven powertrains in sustainable aircraft designs comes with significant technological challenges: thermal management is one such a challenge. Innovative designs of thermal management systems are driven by the need to provide sufficient cooling capacity to the fuel-cell stacks, while minimizing aerodynamic drag of the heat-exchanger solution.

In this post-doctoral R&D position you will work in a project setting on the design of aircraft cooling solutions with low aerodynamic drag. These solutions will entail a combination of ducted heat-exchangers and skin-embedded heat-exchangers. This position is focused on multiple aspects of aerodynamic analyses: modeling of compressible flows through ducts, CFD of ducted heat-exchangers, and modeling wall-bounded flows in non-adiabatic conditions. Aerodynamic heat-exchangers are to be analysed from a feasibility standpoint, and a design framework is to be developed to analyse the aerothermodynamic performance and to facilitate design trade-offs. You are expected to have experience with developing CFD-based numerical tools. Your R&D work has a direct impact on the design of a new fuel-cell driven powertrain solution for a 30-to-60 seater aircraft that is currently being developed in the Netherlands, and you will have the opportunity to position yourself in a leading expert role.

In addition, there are opportunities to work on the scientific details of the aerodynamic cooling solutions by focusing on the fluid and heat transfer physics involved. For ducted heat-exchangers this can entail shape optimization for optimal usage of the Meredith effect. For surface, skin-embedded heat-exchangers a detailed model needs to be developed on the receptivity of the boundary layer flows to non-adiabatic, heated walls, and how alterations can be utilized to enhance the aerothermodynamic performance (heat transfer enhancement with a minimum drag penalty).

You will be part of a young and vibrant team, offering a stimulating and inclusive working environment. When positioning yourself as an engineering scientist of aerothermodynamic systems on future aircraft, you can work alongside faculty members, post-docs and Ph.D. researchers working on a variety of experimental, theoretical and numerical projects relevant to controlling flow around aircraft and increasing their efficiency, with our ultimate goal to improve sustainability of aviation.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • A Ph.D. degree with a focus in aerodynamics and/or thermodynamics (e.g., aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, or applied physics)
  • Fundamental knowledge of aircraft performance, viscous fluid flows and compressible flows
  • Strong analytical and programming skills; knowledge of aerothermodynamic (numerical) modelling is an asset
  • Strong affinity with experimental and/or numerical techniques for studying aerothermodynamic systems (hands on with lab-work and skilled in experimental design is an asset)
  • Hands on with lab-work, skilled in experimental design and hardware construction
  • An aptitude for working in a team with engineers from industry and academia, and excellent communication skills in spoken and written English
  • Creativity, assertive attitude, and a srong drive for academic excellence are strongly valued. 

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (based on scale 10: € 3.226,00 - € 5.090,00). The contract of employement is offered for 1 year. The position is open for 32-38 hours per week. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


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 270 PhD candidates and close to 3000 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
  • 32—38 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • TUD04314


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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