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KU Leuven

PhD student: Structural Health
Monitoring (SHM) of material defects
in aircraft components

(Ref. BAP-2016-489)

Occupation : Full-time
Period : Fixed-term contract
Place : Leuven
Apply no later than : December 01, 2016

The research group Materials Performance and Nondestructive Testing of the Department of Materials Engineering studies and models the damage development in materials and therefore a number of non-destructive and advanced monitoring techniques are used. A special effort is devoted to the development of new tools (read prototyping including sensors) for in-situ quality control during production, process monitoring and structural health monitoring.

PhD student: Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of material defects in aircraft components

In the research group Materials Performance and Nondestructive Testing of the Department of Materials Engineering we offer a 3-years research and training position in the field of non-destructive testing (NDT) and structural health monitoring (SHM) of aircraft components, potentially leading to a PhD degree. In addition, the applicant will have the option to follow parts of the training course on Aircraft Maintenance according to the EASA rules, part 66 at Brussels Airlines in Zaventem (Belgium). All research and training activities are part of the EU-funded International Trainings Network (ITN) "Training Network in Non-Destructive Testing and Structural Health Monitoring of Aircraft structures (NDTonAIR).


In 2014, KU Leuven has proposed and validated a new structural health monitoring (SHM) technique in which the propagation of crack due to fatigue cycling in a metal plate was monitored by exploiting the modulation of ultrasonic waves due to loading-induced opening and closing of the crack. In the proposed PhD work, the approach would be further extended to (i) realistic aircraft components including composites by (ii) exploiting the possibility to use multiple sending and detecting, (iii) making use of piezo-strip-arrays to perform ultrasonic mode selection, (iv) correlate the results to the technique of electrical crack propagation gauges based on percolation sensors. To validate that approach, dynamic loading conditions (static and fatigue) by state-of-the-art material testing equipment (Instron) in all temperature ranges required will be applied and the evaluation of material damage is investigated by fractography (scanning electron microscope) and microfocus X-ray computer tomography.

As the research topic is situated in the field of ultrasonics and related sensing applications, applicants are required to have an excellent proven background in related natural or engineering sciences, including profound knowledge on signal processing as well as on the respective hard- and software.

The work will be performed in the research group Materials Performance and Non-destructive Testing at the Department of Materials Engineering at KU Leuven, as well in the Laboratory for Soft Matter and Biophysics of the Department Physics and Astronomy including short-term research and training stays at international project partners. As a part of an International Training Network (ITN) of the EU, candidates must prove to fulfil the respective eligibility criteria for this position: (i) not residing in Belgium for at least 24 months in the last 3 years, and (ii) having not more than 4 years of research experience (working as researcher after obtaining your master‘s degree).


  • Master degree in one of the following fields (or similar): Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Mechanical engineering, Physics, Natural Sciences, ... .
  • A strong interest for multidisciplinary research is required.
  • Communication skills: ability to work both independently and in a team.
  • Appropriate skills in English speaking and writing are mandatory.


The project offers funding for a 3-year program towards a PhD at the KU Leuven within the Department of Materials Engineering.

KU Leuven offers an exciting multidisciplinary research environment, a broad gamut of training courses for Ph.D. students, competitive salaries or scholarships and full social and medical insurance.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Martine Wevers, tel.: +32 16 32 13 03, mail: martine.wevers@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. Christ Glorieux, tel.: +32 16 32 72 01, mail: christ.glorieux@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than December 01, 2016 via the online application tool

Bewerbungsschluss: 01.12.2016
Bewerbungsschluss: 01.12.2016 Erschienen auf academics.de am 17.10.2016
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