PhD Position Computational Design of Mechanical Metamaterials for Controlling Fracture

PhD Position Computational Design of Mechanical Metamaterials for Controlling Fracture

Published Deadline Location
7 Feb 15 Mar Delft

Job description

Modern design paradigmns can no longer rely on intuition, but instead on advanced comptational tools. We are particularly interested in mechanical metamaterials, which exhibit unusual mechanical behavior not found in nature by means of an engineered structure. For instance, metamaterials can be designed so that at bulk they have an effective negative Poisson's ratio (auxetic metamaterials), or they attenuate waves with subwavelength structures (acoustic metamaterials). However, the creation of metamaterials with unusual fracture behavior is yet to be explored. The design of a new class of mechanical metamaterials with tailored fracture behavior could have a large set of applications, ranging from dissipative wearables to customized food. In fact, together with the University of Amsterdam (UvA), we recently pushed forward the first generation of edible metamaterials with tailored fracture (see BBC article at As a PhD candidate, you will be in charge of the design of the next generation of mechanical metamaterials by means of topology optimization. In this joint project with UvA, your tasks will include:

  • Mastering concepts from fracture mechanics and structural optimization (i.e., topology optimization).
  • Extending our existing framework that uses topology optimization for designing metamaterial unit cells for fracture.
  • Coordinating with the team at UvA for the realization of optimized prototypes and their validation with experiments.
  • Writing a PhD thesis, publishing in renowned computational journals, and presenting your research at international meetings.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You should have the following qualifications:

  • A strong background in computational mechanics, particularly fracture mechanics. Background in implementing the finite element method and/or topology optimization is also highly desired.
  • A MSc degree in mechanical engineering (or a related area such as civil engineering, aerospace engineering, or applied mathematics).
  • Programming experience (Python or a related language).
  • Knowledge of optimization.
  • High motivation for teamwork and excellent communication skills (high level of English).

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 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.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Alejandro M. Aragón, phone: +31 (0)15 278 22 67, e-mail: 

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 15 March 2024 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

For information about the application procedure, please contact Linda Verhaar,


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04996


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

Application procedure

Application procedure

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Mar 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).