Postdoc Interaction of Hydraulic Polymetallic-Nodule Collectors with the Seabed Sediment

Postdoc Interaction of Hydraulic Polymetallic-Nodule Collectors with the Seabed Sediment

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13 Mar yesterday Delft

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Job description

Aiming for a carbon-free future, societies steadily move toward electric transport and machinery utilizing renewable energy. Consequently, there is an increased demand for critical materials such as copper and cobalt to realize such energy sources. Since the terrestrial mineral deposits are depleting, the deep-sea floor has recently been receiving great attention from industrialists and scientists. Immense amounts of strategic metals and rare-earth elements are embedded into the ocean floor, particularly in potato-sized concretions termed polymetallic nodules. These nodules are rich in crucial metals such as cobalt, copper, manganese, and nickel, and companies are keen to get their hands on these nodules.

Hydraulic Coandă-effect-based collectors are most widely considered, because of their indirect contact with the seabed. However, such collectors disturb the seabed; sediment is inevitably picked up and collected together with the nodules during the mining process. The collected sediment is discarded at the rear of the collector. Consequently, a sediment plume is formed, which could travel long distances away from mining sites, disrupting aquatic ecosystems in their track.

The current understanding of the interaction between Coandă-effect-based collectors and the seabed sediment remains scant. The available approach to predict seabed disturbance is through empirical relations. The aim of this postdoctoral position is to improve these relations leading to a more unified physical understanding of the interaction between the collector and seabed sediment. To this end, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations will be run and validated with recently-acquired experimental data. Following that, data-driven and sparse identification techniques will be applied to discover the underlying physics.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • PhD degree in Dredging Engineering, Civil Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering, Ocean Engineering or a related field of study.
  • Proven affinity with sediment erosion/transport.
  • Experience in CFD modelling.
  • Background in machine learning is highly desired.
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to work independently as well as in a team.
  • Excellent command of English, written and spoken. 

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 13 months.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. 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.

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Faculty Mechanical 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 ME faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

ME 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 ME’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 Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • Postdoc
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • TUD05047


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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