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PhD position on Continuum–DEM modelling of fluid–solid transition


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) and Procter & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd (United Kingdom), where you will work on multiscale modelling of yielding/jamming applied to industrial particle processes.

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:

One of the main mechanical challenges in particle systems is the complex yielding transition from static to fluid-like and back to jammed states. This creates considerable handling problems in industry for transport of particles, e.g., ensuring uniform flowability and composition until packages reach the consumer. Polydispersity and varying particle shapes add complexity to these handling problems.

Specific objectives are:

  1. Understand the effect of particle formulation on the contact network in the packed/static stage, with a focus on the role of history;
  2. Reproduce the complex transitions from static to motion and back using DEM simulations, and develop a continuum framework to capture this;
  3. Extend the micromechanically based continuum model to polydisperse, multi-component formulations of varying particle shapes;
  4. Understand segregation of multi-component systems within a closed packing subjected to many vibrations (like during transport to the client)

Expected Results:

  1. DEM data which reproduce the interplay between the yield transition from static to motion and back to jammed states;
  2. Continuum models which correctly capture these transitions;
  3. Extension of the model to bi-component (flow aids) and multi-component polydisperse particle systems.

The researcher will be seconded at SACMI (IT) to work on the validation for pouring and compaction of polydisperse powders in moulds for ceramics tiles.

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, computer 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;
  • futhermore, 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). This mobility rule applies only to your first recruitment within the project, and not to other organisations to which you might be sent on secondment or at which you may subsequently also be recruited. Check carefully the Eligibility Criteria in the TUSAIL website

Our offer

This position and the PhD track are for 4 years. The first 2 years you are employed at the University of Twente (NL), followed by a full time contract with Procter & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd for 1 year, and the last year based at University of Twente again.

There will be opportunities for secondments at SACMI (IT). 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 starts from EUR 2.395,- per month in the 1st year, 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 Employment conditions will be different in the 12 months when the candidate is hired by Procter & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd, in agreement with national regulations.

Information and application

The Ph.D project will be conducted under the supervision of Prof. S. Luding and Dr. V. Magnanimo at University of Twente and Dr. P. Gupta at Procter & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd. An Individual Supervisory Committee, including academic and industrial supervisors, 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 Continuum–DEM modelling of fluid–solid transition
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