PhD Position Effect of Manufacturing Defects in Composites

PhD Position Effect of Manufacturing Defects in Composites

Published Deadline Location
14 Nov 10 Dec Delft

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Challenge: Predicting the effect of manufacturing defects in composites.
Change: New models and experimental methdologies.
Impact: Safer and more efficient composite structures.

Job description

Fibre reinforced polymer composite components inevitably contain manufacturing defects. Currently this is dealt with by imposing safety factors on the design, and by establishing conservative acceptable defect sizes, which do not take into account the stress distriubtion within the component. Instead it would be desirable to predict the effect of a defect on the strength and durability of the component, to enable a more precise evaluation of the defect's severity.

Within this PhD project you will conduct research with the aim of better understanding the effect of manufacturing defects, particularly those produced by automated fibre placement (AFP). The work will consist of a mixture of experiments and (likely numerical) modelling.

You will conduct this research within the Aerospace Structures and Materials Department of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of TU Delft. Direct supervision will be provided by Dr. ir. J.A. Pascoe and D.M.J.Peeters. Dr. ir. R.C. Alderliesten will act as promotor.

This position is a part of the H2Crash project, funded by the 'Luchtvaart in Transitie' programme of the Dutch Government. Within H2Crash there is a second PhD project, focusssed on the crashworthiness of hydrogen storage, with whom you will collaborate. You will also join the community of PhD candidates and post-docs at the ASM department who work on a wide array of topics related to aerospace materials and structures, including fatigue and damage tolerance.

Tasks and responsibilities of this position include:

  • Conducting independent research into effect of manufacturing defects, with guidance from the supervisory team.
  • Completing a PhD thesis within 4 years.
  • Assisting in education delivered by the ASM department.
  • Communicating the results of your research via journal articles and conference presentations.
  • Participating in the Docotoral Education programme provided by the Faculty Graduate School.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Need to have:

  • An MSc degree in a relevant field, e.g. Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or similar, with courses relevant to the topic of the research.
  • Affinity with the topic of fatigue of structures and materials.
  • A desire to acquire the new skills and knowledge needed to complete the project.
  • A critical attitude towards your own work and that of others.
  • Good written and oral communication skills, with the ability to communicate the value of your work in both academic and industry settings.
  • English proficiency as described on the Graduate School admission page.

Nice to have:

  • Prior experience with fibre reinforced polymer composites.
  • Prior experience with mechanical testing of composites.
  • Experience with automated fibre placement or similar manufacturing techniques.
  • Experience in modelling of defects in composites.

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 € 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 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
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04656


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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