Soft porous media have the ability to retain and release fluids, depending on the affinity between the fluid and the porous matrix, the geometry and elasticity of the matrix, as well as external stimuli. Intensive research has been dedicated in recent years to controlling wettability, adhesion, friction and other (static) macroscopic properties of these materials in the context of liquid-infused surfaces and functional coatings. In a new interdisciplinary project between chemists, physicists and mechanical engineers and in collaboration with industrial partners, we study with a team of three PhD students the principles governing fluid transport and release within soft porous media, such as lubrication greases for bearings. We will explore novel strategies of lubrication using responsive polymer brushes with the ultimate practical goal to provide pathways for better lubricants, e.g. for wind turbines and electric vehicles.
A PhD position is available in the Physics of Complex Fluids group at the University of Twente. In a team with two other PhD students who focus more on chemical materials’ synthesis and tribological applications, your focus will be on measuring and modelling of fluid transport in wetting oil films that are stabilized by functionalized surfaces. Experiments will involve various optical imaging (interferometry, ellipsometry, fluorescence) and advanced Atomic Force Microscopy-based methods. You should have a Masters degree in physics, chemistry, or a related discipline. Excellent communication in English and the willingness to collaborate in a team (including external industrial partners) will be essential.
Please send your application via the vacancy portal of the University of Twente and/or by email to Prof. Frieder Mugele (via PCFtnw@utwente.nl)