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PhD position on Meso-scale description of wet powders for industrial-scale modelling


Job description

We are seeking a full time PhD researcher with research interests in granular physics, continuum mechanics, computer modelling and the discrete element methods (DEM) to join University of Twente (Netherlands), where you will work on microscale modelling and constitutive relations for wet granular materials.

This project is part of the EU funded Marie Curie Initial Training Network TUSAIL– Training in Upscaling particle Systems: Advancing Industry across Length-scales ( The overarching objective of TUSAIL is to develop, apply and validate three novel modelling methodologies in the upscaling of industrial particulate processes. TUSAIL will train 15 researchers within a collaborative multidisciplinary and inter-sectorial network involving 6 university partners and 5 major industries across Europe.

Project details:

Methods exist to satisfactorily simulate fully saturated particle systems and systems in the pendular regime with independent liquid bridges. In the last case the liquid provides an additional force between pairs of (meso-)particles. The challenge lies in the intermediate liquid content range. This project aims to develop a meso-particle model to simulate wet systems for all degrees of saturation. The method will be applied to macro-scale processes e.g. agglomeration, granulation and mixing, where the size/type of particles evolves due to the fluid.

Specific objectives are:

  • Establish and validate contact models between DEM particles and solid-fluid coupling algorithms to describe varying amounts of liquid (0% to 100%) in granular systems;
  • Derive the relation between microstructure and liquid content to be included in the up-scaled meso-particles and wet-flow rheology.

Apply the developed methodologies to selected wet industrial particle processes (granulation, mixing).
Expected output of the project are:

  1. Micro-scale DEM simulation data and proposed contact laws in the pendular/funicular/capillary regimes;
  2. Meso-particle model for agglomeration, breakage, segregation and mixing.

Laboratory tests for large scale validation will be performed in collaboration with our partners Johnson Matthey (UK), that will host the researcher for secondment. Further comparison of the upscaled numerical model, this time with industrial scale data, will be conducted under the supervision of our partners during a secondment at Nestle (CHF).

Your profile

As an ideal candidate:

  • you have a MSc degree or a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant field such as physics, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, applied mathematics, materials science or related areas;
  • you are interested to learn and contribute to new technologies for particle technology application;
  • knowledge in DEM modelling or numerical methods in general and a good understanding of particle technology or granular physics would be advantageous;
  • you are an excellent teammate, able to collaborate intensively with industrial and academic parties in regular meetings and work visits;
  • furthermore, an appropriate qualification in the English Language together with excellent communication and organizational skills are required.

This fellowship is offered in the context of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network and transnational mobility is a key element of eligibility. Therefore your eligibility for the post is determined by Marie Curie terms and conditions. Researchers may be either EU citizens or from outside the EU (subject to relevant immigration formalities), but applications will only be accepted from candidates who must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of selection by the host institution (short stays such as holidays are not taken into account). Check carefully the Eligibility Criteria in the TUSAIL website

Our offer

This position is for 4years. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes secondments and short visits to partners in the TUSAIL network, a wide range of training activities, workshops, dedicated sessions at international meetings, to foster scientific and transferable skills for the Jobs of Tomorrow.

The salary in the Netherlands ranges from EUR 2.395,- (1st year) to EUR 3.061,- (4th year) per month, plus holiday allowance (8%) and end-of-year bonus (8.3%), in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement. Further information can be found at

Information and application

The PhD project will be conducted under the supervision of Prof. S Luding and Dr. V. Magnanimo at University of Twente. An Individual Supervisory Committee, including industrial partner, s will guide the candidate during his/her PhD.

For applications, please submit your documents using the ‘Apply now’ button below, including your CV, motivation letter, bachelor and master transcripts, contact details of at least two references who worked closely with you, theses or reports (if available).

Master students who will graduate in the next coming months are welcome to apply. In that case, please provide an overview of the transcripts that are already available.

The deadline for application is 15 March 2021. The intended starting date is 1 September 2021, at latest.

For more information about the position, you are encouraged to send an e-mail to Dr. V. Magnanimo (

The selection procedure is performed by the beneficiaries within TUSAIL project and thus by all partners involved in the project This means your application is shared amongst the universities under the GDPR terms of data collection. It could possible that the beneficiaries identifies that another position would be more suitable for your background and skills.

A Game-Based assessment will be also part of the selection procedure.

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.

As an employer, the ET Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, 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, customizable conditions.

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 on Meso-scale description of wet powders for industrial-scale modelling
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