PhD Position Simulation of The Fluid Dynamics of Microplastics

PhD Position Simulation of The Fluid Dynamics of Microplastics

Published Deadline Location
6 Sep 15 Oct Delft

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Simulating the fluid dynamics of flexible fibers towards reducing the environmental impact of plastic microfiber pollutants.

Job description

New technologies are urgently needed to limit micro-plastics release in the aquatic environment. A large contribution to micro-plastics pollution comes from microfibers released from clothes in our washing machines, which cannot be completely filtered out with current methods. These fibers enter the water bodies of oceans, rivers and lakes, and dramatically affect the lives of the aquatic fauna. In this PhD position, the student will develop highly-accurate simulations to investigate how flexible and potentially curved fibers interact with the walls of mesh-based filters, and work in collaboration with an experimental team to develop the next-generation of mesh-less high-throughput filters. This PhD position is an opportunity to work on a fundamental scientific problem with a direct, immediate societal impact. The overall project, called MicroWash, indeed aims to deliver the next generation of low-cost, high-performance filters for washing machine, rationally designed to cut emissions at the source, thus removing the need for environmental remediation.

In addition to develop fluid dynamics knowledge, the student will also have the opportunity to interact with a user committee composed of companies and institutions interested in tackling the global problem of microplastic pollution.

The student will be part of the Process & Energy Department of TU Delft, a department with a long fluid dynamics tradition and a large cohort of students interested in fluid dynamics research. The project requires the student to develop computer simulations of particulate systems interacting with geometrically-complex constrictions.



Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a candidate with an MSc in Engineering, Physics or Mathematics, and a good mathematical or computational background. Applicants need to demonstrate:

  • An excellent track record in their education and research;
  • A strong educational background in fluid dynamics and transport phenomena;
  • Some research experience in numerical fluid dynamics or mathematical modelling, as evidenced by reports or papers from previous studies and research;
  • Ideally, some experience writing computer codes from scratch in a modern programming language;
  • The motivation to work in collaboration with experimentalists (simulations will be compared and validated against controlled experiments.

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.

It is important that the student is self-motivated, and wants to work independently towards the goal of delivering a solution to a problem that affects society.

In terms of technical skills, the skill of writing computer codes and the ability to analyse the simulation results will be continuously developed during the project. However, previous experience and familiarity with scientific computing simulations based on continuum methods (Computational Fluid Dynamics tools, especially of academic type such as Immersed Boundary methods or similar) will be an advantage. Most important is a good background in mathematics and physics.

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 € 2770,- per month in the first year to € 3539,- 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, 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 Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

From chip to ship. From machine to human being. From idea to solution. Driven by a deep-rooted desire to understand our environment and discover its underlying mechanisms, research and education at the 3mE faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with high-tech lab facilities and international reach. It’s a large faculty but also versatile, so we can often make unique connections by combining different disciplines. This is reflected in 3mE’s outstanding, state-of-the-art education, which trains students to become responsible and socially engaged engineers and scientists. We translate our knowledge and insights into solutions to societal issues, contributing to a sustainable society and to the development of prosperity and well-being. That is what unites us in pioneering research, inspiring education and (inter)national cooperation.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • TUD04359


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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