See Vacancies - University of Twente

PhD position: Degradation and lubrication of stern tube seals

Job description

The Department Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (MS3), part of the faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) is currently seeking a PhD student in the area of sealing and the tribological behaviour of stern tube seals, which are elastomeric seals used in seagoing vessels. The two main functions of these seals are preventing water ingress into the stern tube and minimizing lubricant spillage. When lubricant is spilled into the ocean, environmental consequences are amplified since a small quantity of oil can contaminate a large amount of water. Understanding the fundamental degradation mechanisms of the rubber seal material and analyzing and modelling the functional behavior is essential to improve maintenance strategies for vessels, to develop new seal compounds and to make well-founded lifetime predictions.

Aspects such as leakage, friction and hydrodynamic film formation in the shaft-seal contact are not well understood as the pressurized stern tube seal is a far more sophisticated seal than a standard lip seal. Also, the functional behaviour is strongly interlinked with degradation mechanisms causing a continuous change in the properties of the seal material over the lifetime.

The research will be done in the Surface Engineering and Maintenance group of the MS3 department, where we work on a wide range of topics related to damage mechanisms and lifetime prediction. Many degradation mechanisms involve multiple physical domains, like interacting thermal, mechanical and chemical effects. We analyze and model complex degradation phenomena which are foundational for maintenance. Improvement of lifetime and maintenance is important, ultimately to make our society more sustainable.

For this project, we are looking for a PhD candidate with relevant expertise. The candidate will plan and execute his/her research towards the project goal.

The candidate will reports during progress meetings of our research group and with the project partners. The candidate is encouraged to present his/her results at international scientific conferences and is expected to publish in academic literature. You are part of a team of two PhD students, where one PhD student is focusing on degradation mechanisms at Imperial College in London and you on developing validated models related to lubrication and sealing aspects at the University of Twente. The industrial partner will be actively involved in the project by performing analysis and experiments on full scale stern tube seals.

The university offers a very stimulating scientific environment and a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important aspect of the strategic agenda.

Your profile

  • MSc. degree in Mechanical Engineering or a related field with excellent results and special interest in tribology and elastomers.
  • Curious and highly motivated to do interdisciplinary scientific research with a clear industrial application.
  • Working independently and taking ownership for your own research.
  • You are an excellent researcher, eager to learn and to improve;
  • You thrive in a collaborative environment;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills. Proficiency in English is required, both spoken and written. You need to provide IELTS test results (minimum score 6.5) or TOEFL-iBT (minimum score 90). The latter is not necessary for native speakers of English or whose MSc program was in English.

Our offer

The UT provides a dynamic and international environment, combining the benefits of academic research with a topic of high industrial relevance, excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus. We offer:

  • A full-time 4-year PhD position;
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating international research environment with excellent facilities;
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente;
  • A starting salary of € 2.434 gross per month in the first year and a salary of € 3.111  in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.

Information and application

Interested after reading this vacancy? Applications should include the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of motivation
  • Grades of the BSc and MSc courses
  • IELTS or TOEFL score (if necessary)
  • Contact information of 2 references

Please submit your application before September, 21st 2021 by using the “Apply now” button. The selection procedure includes an interview and scientific presentation.

For more information, contact prof.dr.ir. M.B. de Rooij (m.b.derooij@utwente.nl)

About the organization

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

PhD position: Degradation and lubrication of stern tube seals
Apply now