PhD position 'Consolidation of damaged porous media'

Amsterdam (NL)
Wednesday, 22 January 2020
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 15 March 2020
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Porous media such as buildings and artworks can be severely damaged due to e.g., frost or salt crystallization. When the porous material loses its mechanical integrity, solutions have to be found to preserve it by consolidating the material. We propose    a combined experimental and    computational PhD position at the interface between physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering. We are seeking an excellent, highly motivated PhD student to carry out the interdisciplinary research to unravel the routes and underlying mechanisms for the consolidation of porous media. The most promising route for consolidation of stone artworks is to fill the pore space of stones by polymer solutions and induce a sol-gel transition through evaporation of the solvent. While the kinematics of transport and drying of Newtonian fluids in porous media has been widely studied by both experimental and theoretical approaches, the case of non-Newtonian fluids remains largely unexplored. The student will employ a coupled experimental-computational approach to study the drying kinematics of polymer solutions in porous media undergoing a sol-gel transition upon evaporation of the solvent. The macro-mechanical reinforcement of the porous medium driven by the sol-gel transition will be investigated experimentally by tensile tests and numerically by finite element micro-mechanical simulations. Undertaking such a combined and multiscale approach, we will be uniquely positioned to provide a coherent and comprehensive picture of reinforcement of such materials.

What are you going to do?

During your PhD project, you are expected to undertake a dual experimental and computational approach to boost our understanding of the underlying mechanisms consolidation of porous media. You will:

  • experimentally analyze the effect of the evaporation-induced sol-gel transition on the mechanical reinforcement of damaged porous media;
  • develop a novel pore network model for evaporating polymer solutions in porous media;
  • participate in the many seminars by internal and external speakers as well as journal clubs and group activities;
  • present your results in internal seminars and national and international workshop/conferences;
  • write research publications;
  • collaborate with other PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers and other science faculty members;
  • contribute to the education program at the University of Amsterdam by teaching assistance.

What do we require?

  • A master’s degree in either of Physics, physical chemistry, chemical/mechanical engineering disciplines or a closely related field;
  • a strong background in physics of interfaces, statistical physics and fluid mechanics;
  • a demonstrated computational experience including use of high-level programming languages such as C/C++, and Python or other scripting languages;
  • enthusiasm about and the willingness to interdisciplinary research combing experimental and computational approaches; excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting as soon as possible for the duration of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,325 to €2,972 (scale P) gross per month, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

Dr Sara Jabbari Farouji, Assistant professor and/or Dr Noushine Shahidzadeh, Associate professor  About the Faculty of Science and the Institute of Physics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

You will be based at the Institute of Physics (IoP). The Institute of Physics, one of the large research institutes of the faculty of Science, combines the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI), the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITFA) and the Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEF). You will also become a member of the interdisciplinary Computational Soft Matter Laboratory interconnecting the Institute of Physics, Informatics Institute and Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences benefiting strongly form intensive exchange with its other members.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile?

Then we look forward to receiving your application by 15 March 2020. You may apply online by using the link below.    

Please send your application electronically as a single PDF document that includes:  

  • a motivation letter and a detailed CV;
  • grade transcripts; copies of certificates;
  • if applicable, pdf versions of your scientific publications and master thesis;
  • the name and email address of at least two referees (who will be contacted and asked for a letter when the candidate is shortlisted).

Consideration of candidates will continue until the position is filled. The selection process commences immediately but will close when a suitable candidate has been found. #LI-DNP

No agencies please