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Ghent University
PhD vacancy (4 years) on micro-to-macro correlation of fracture processes in composites
Ghent University
After decades of uninterrupted growth, Ghent University is one of the leading institutions of higher education and research in the Low Countries with 36,000 students and more than 8,000 staff members.
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JOB DETAILS
Published: 10 months ago
Application deadline: Unspecified
Location: Gent, Belgium
Please mention that you found this job on Academic Positions when applying.
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PhD vacancy (4 years) on micro-to-macro correlation of fracture processes in composites

Our previous and ongoing research in collaboration with industry has revealed the need of a better understanding and assessment of fracture parameters of composite laminates, with special attention to establishing a clear link between the experimental values and the microscopic fracture. These parameters are often (i) unknown by the companies, (ii) poorly characterized and suffering from big uncertainties, (iii) restricted to very simple fracture modes and a very simple composite architecture or (iv) typically obtained from literature from the work performed by other authors under unspecified and/or different conditions.

The objective of this project is to generate a multiscale computational framework that simulates a variety of real-size testing setups in order to assess the strength and fracture toughness of Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) laminates. For this framework, a region enriched with a detailed description at the level of its constituents (matrix, fibres and interface) is strategically embedded in another coarse-grain region spanning the entire simulated testing setup (for example: three-point-bending test, double-cantilever-beam or compact-tension test, among others). Our research group of Mechanics of Materials and Structures at Ghent University (UGent-MMS) has recently initiated the development of this multiscale approach termed as "embedded" models, where intensive development and use of the Finite Element Method (FEM) are required.

The proposed framework offers big possibilities and it can become a powerful virtual characterization tool to assess fracture properties: (i) to improve and optimize the performance of the already existing FRP laminates, (ii) to investigate new designs and their feasibility before fabrication and (iii) to analyse complex architectures under load conditions which are not possible to test experimentally due to difficulties associated with measurements in multidirectional laminates. The achievements of this PhD would not only provide better understanding and assistance to the experimental measurements but they would also provide validated and verified input parameters to other numerical methodologies in the field of composite materials already existing in the automotive or aerospace industries. In that sense, the proposed work covers also a very important stage of experimental validation: the developments will be validated with experimental microscopic in-situ observations of the fracture evolution. These observations will be obtained from measurements using different standardized mechanical tests that the framework will simulate.

Only candidates with a Master degree should apply. The candidate should have a good background in mechanics of materials, preferably in composites, as well as very strong computational and programming skills.

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