PhD Student

Last application date
Feb 17, 2023 00:00
TW08 - Department of Electromechanical, Systems and Metal Engineering
Limited duration
master's degree (or equivalent) in mechanical engineering or materials science
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The research group Materials Science and Technology-DyMaLab is looking for a PhD researcher to contribute to a research project on additively manufactured metal lattice structures (MLS). The project focusses on the impact-dynamic behaviour of these materials. Because of their large deformation capacity and low density, AM lattices might have a high potential to absorb impact energy making them suitable for crashworthiness applications.

The quasi-static behavior of MLS produced by LPBF has been extensively studied and documented for samples with different relative densities and unit cells. However, although in many applications impact loads occur, the dynamic lattice behavior is not yet fully understood. Only few scientific studies are available on the effect of high strain rates or impact loads on the deformation and failure mechanisms of metal lattices. Dynamic data at the unit cell or even strut level, is still missing.
Main aim of the PhD is to obtain an enhanced understanding of the impact-dynamic mechanical properties of MLS, including the processing, structural and microstructural factors lying at the origin of the observed behaviour. The research is mainly experimental. Existing impact testing facilities will be used to perform extensive series of tests to identify the impact properties of MLS at various scales, i.e., from the strut over the cell to the metamaterial level. If needed, the existing facilities or test procedures will have to be optimised. Prior and after testing, the microstructure and surface of well-selected samples will be studied using light optical, SEM and SEM-EBSD. The MLS samples will be provided by KU Leuven, the main partner in the project. MLS with different lattice architectures, produced by various combinations of processing parameters, different densities, etc. will be studied.

The PhD research will be performed at MST-DyMaLab, a research group of the faculty of Engineering and Architecture of Ghent University, which is among the top 100 global universities according to several international rankings. To characterise the dynamic behaviour of materials, DyMaLab disposes of experimental facilities and measurement devices that are unique in the world (see The introduction of highly advanced measurement methodologies, including high-speed full-field deformation measurements, has opened a world of new opportunities. In the framework of present PhD, we would like to further explore the capabilities of the available testing and measurement techniques for the identification of AM MLS.

Therefore, a keen interest in mechanical material behaviour, material testing and measurement techniques, is a prerequisite for the position. Additionally, the use of advanced devices requires elementary knowledge of mechanics, optics, electronics, measurement procedures, data processing, etc. Experience with Labview and Matlab is highly useful.

Next to scientific research, the researcher will also have the opportunity to develop his/her teaching skills by providing assistance to the courses provided by the MST group. We also expect the PhD researcher to contribute to the daily operation of the lab.

We offer an intellectually challenging, international work environment. Additionally, the PhD researcher will have access to high-quality training to develop hard and soft skills, opportunities to participate in international scientific conferences and to interact with international researchers.

The selected PhD researcher will receive a competitive scholarship (monthly minimum 2300 EUR nett spendable plus other benefits. For comparison: the average nett monthly income in Belgium is 1700 EUR. More information on the cost of living in Ghent can be found on

Furthermore, Ghent is a charming medieval Flemish town, filled with canals, full of energy, history and culture.
The position is available from January 2023 onwards. The actual starting data is flexible, but preferably not later than April 2023. Students who will soon graduate can apply.

Job profile

We are looking for a researcher with a keen interest in experimental work to identify the mechanical properties of MLS. Since this will involve a lot of tests in the lab and the development of test methodologies, we are looking for someone who was involved in exploring (and probably breaking) all kinds of devices from a young age. Someone who later turned this ‘destructive attitude’ into the creation of mechanical tools, gadgets, …. and, finally, further building on a strong interest in how things work, chose to study engineering.

More specifically:

  • You have a master's degree (or equivalent) in mechanical engineering or materials science. Metals, including their mechanical behaviour, must have been an important part of your curriculum.
  • You have a keen interest in additive manufactured materials, including how their properties and microstructure can be identified.
  • You are familiar with materials testing and you do not fear experimental work, including the use of advanced measuring equipment, such as high-speed cameras, impact test facilities and microscopes (including SEM).
  • You have an independent, problem-solving, organised and result-oriented attitude.
  • You have been a hard-working and dedicated student, proven by your study degrees.
  • You have the necessary social skills, flexibility and critical thinking ability to function in a multidisciplinary and international academic environment.
  • Good knowledge of English (reading, writing and speaking) is required.

How to apply

Applications have to be sent in via email to Use ‘Vacancy AM MLS’ as subject. The following should be included: motivation letter (no more than 1 page), CV (no more than 3 pages) and copies of your MSc degree. Please merge all documents into one PDF attachment.
Short-listed applicants will be informed at short notice and names of referees will be requested.