PhD on multiscale design and testing of magneto-active mechanical metamaterials

PhD on multiscale design and testing of magneto-active mechanical metamaterials

Published Deadline Location
1 Dec 13 Feb Eindhoven

Job description

Most of the designs of smart materials and mechanical metamaterials have to date focused on passive mechanical properties, such as maximum stiffness and minimum weight, negative Poisson's ratio or compressibility. The central objective of this project is a paradigm shift in the design of mechanical metamaterials in making them active, and thus significantly extending the provided design space and potential for functionalization by integrating on-demand real-time switchable properties. Join our team of scientists from Mechanical Engineering on this exciting journey to develop new smart materials and devices.

We are looking for a highly creative and motivated PhD candidate to join the Mechanics of Materials section at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The position is in the group led by prof. Marc G.D. Geers and will be co-supervised by Ron H.J. Peerlings and Ondrej Rokoš.

Context. Metamaterials owe their name to their unprecedented effective behavior that typically cannot be found in Nature and that often combines contradictory properties, such as being ultra-stiff & ultra-light, or auxetic behavior. These properties usually emerge from the metamaterials' complex micro-structural morphology rather than from the properties of individual material constituents. Recent trends in metamaterial design aim at their actuation using, e.g., discrete mechanical, pneumatic, thermal, chemical, or electromagnetic actuation. Metamaterials thus offer a massive design space, which can be exploited in numerous applications such as artificial muscles, medical robotics including minimum invasive surgery, bio-implants, soft robotics, or self-folding systems.

Objective. The objective of this project is to theoretically and experimentally prove the concept of magneto-active mechanical metamaterials and to predict mechanical behavior relevant at the engineering scale, hierarchically emerging from the underlying microstructure.

Development of such materials relies on computationally intensive multi-physics first-principle microstructural models, which need to be parameterized by typical microstructural features such as geometry, micro-constituent material and magnetic properties, or coupling with external fields. Engineering-scale effective properties are essential in order to gain new insights into the underlying mechanisms and behavior of such materials, but are at the same time theoretically and computationally challenging.

A paradigm shift and advance in the state of the art of metamaterials is expected, by making them active and by developing new microstructures and concepts leading to target engineering properties and functionalities based on interactions with external magnetic fields.

Implementation. To achieve this objective, the PhD project is planned to cover several aspects of the design, multi-scale modeling, and testing of such materials. (i) In-silico numerical design and testing of magneto-active microstructures, by developing finite element modeling tools and estimating their effective properties (theoretically and computationally). (ii) Optimal microstructures and devices will be further sought for, using massive exploration of the available design space through inversion of the (micro)structure-property map. Topology optimization as well as machine learning based techniques will be considered. (iii) Smart-material devices and engineering applications will be considered, making use of available actuation concepts and gained insights. (iv) If successful, the best designs and actuation concepts along with proof-of-concept devices will be manufactured using 3D printing technology and tested experimentally.

Exposition. During the execution phase of this project, you will be exposed to, gain understanding, and deepen your knowledge in concepts such as complex nonlinear coupled multi-physics (electro-magneto-mechanical) modeling and simulation, advanced numerical and optimization tools including topology optimization, multiscale computational homogenization, finite elements, and machine learning tools. Collaboration with bachelor and master students is possible and welcome.

Section Embedding. The research will be embedded within the section Mechanics of Materials (, whose activities concentrate on the fundamental understanding of various macroscopic problems in materials processing and forming, emerging from the physics and the mechanics of the underlying material microstructure. The main challenge is the accurate prediction of mechanical properties of materials with complex micro-structures, with a direct focus on industrial needs. The thorough understanding and modeling of 'unit' processes that can be identified in the complex evolving microstructure is thereby a key issue. The group has a unique research infrastructure, both from an experimental and computational perspective. The Multi-Scale Lab allows for quantitative in-situ microscopic measurements during deformation and mechanical characterization, and it constitutes the main source for all experimental research on various mechanical aspects of materials within the range of 10-9-10-2 m. In terms of computer facilities, several multi-processor-multi-core computer clusters are available, as well as a broad spectrum of in-house and commercial software.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


Highly talented and enthusiastic candidates with excellent analytical skills and excellent grades are encouraged to apply. A MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Materials Science, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, or a related discipline is required, as well as a strong background in computational methods. In particular, students with a specialization in numerical modeling and finite element techniques, micro-mechanics & multi-scale modelling, and optimization techniques including topology optimization, are encouraged to apply. The ideal candidate has excellent scientific skills with a research-oriented attitude, outstanding verbal and written communication skills, and is fluent in spoken and written English.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called '30% facility', which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Additional information

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
Ondrej Rokoš, o.rokos[at]

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact HRadviceME[at]

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include a:
  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Brief summary of your MSc thesis, highlighting your main contribution.
  • Transcripts of your BSc and MSc degrees (with grades).

Note that we do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way. Both national and international applications to this advertisement are appreciated.

We are looking forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled. Promising candidates will be contacted by email.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V35.5343


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 13 Feb 2022 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).