PhD Position in Experimental Physics, Corrosion under Insulation

Trondheim, Norway
19 May 2020
End of advertisement period
15 Jun 2020
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Energy and Process Engineering has a vacancy for a PhD candidate within the topic of experimental investigation of water transport in fibrous porous media. We are looking for candidates with a background in one or ideally more of these areas: flow in porous media, experimental fluid mechanics, electronics for sensors and instrumentation, heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, analysis of experimental data, programming for instrumentation (LabView or other solutions).

The candidate will work within the SINTEF-led project PredictCUI, which is focused on building the physical understanding that is necessary for developing a predictive solution to Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI). The challenge of CUI comes from the fact that pipes transporting hot fluids around the plant are insulated using open fibrous materials such as mineral wool. The insulation is protected from water ingress, but this protection is never perfect, so water will enter in some locations and migrate through the insulation, causing corrosion that can ultimately lead to failure with severe consequences for people and the environment. This challenge affects all types of chemical processing plants, refineries, oil and gas platforms, et cetera. Due to the large risks from a CUI-related failure, associated maintenance costs are in the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars per year on the global scale.

Despite the large scale of this problem, a solid understanding of how water is transported in this system is still lacking. Development of physical understanding of the water transport mechanisms, together with development of numerical models and water sensors placed in the field, will open up possibilities for a radical improvement to CUI maintenance strategies. This will help reduce cost, reduce emissions and improve safety for people and environment.

The candidate will report to Professor Ole Jørgen Nydal and will be included in a broader group of researchers at NTNU EPT, SINTEF Energy Research as well as NTNU's Centre of Excellence PoreLab. The candidate will be working in the recently refurbished shared laboratories of NTNU and SINTEF in the Varmeteknisk Laboratory.

The head of the department is Professor Terese Løvås.

Duties of the position

  • Participate in the development of novel experimental setups for measuring water transport mechanisms in fibrous insulation materials, at multiple scales.
  • Perform measurement campaigns with the setups, analyse the data and present the results in written and oral form.
  • Investigate the relative importance of the transport mechanisms (evaporation, diffusion, condensation, capillary transport, etc.) at different scales (axially, radially, azimuthally).
  • Participate in the project's collaboration with Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, and possibly participate in measurements performed at their facilities.
  • Collaborate with other researchers working on numerical modelling, to ensure good links between models and experiments.
  • Participate in the Consortium Meetings of the project, to present results and interact with other researchers as well as industry representatives.

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in science and technology (physics, fluid mechanics, mechanical engineering, computational science or equivalent) education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

Other required selection criteria

  • A master’s degree or equivalent education with a solid emphasis on either physics, fluid mechanics, flow in porous media, or sensors and instrumentation.
  • Excellent English oral and writing skills.
  • Experience from working in a laboratory with measurement of physical properties, instrumentation and analysis of data.

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience with programming systems for data collection from physical sensors will be regarded as a major advantage.
  • Basic understanding of flow in porous media as well as thermodynamics will be regarded as an advantage.
  • Experience with scientific publishing will be regarded as an advantage.

Personal characteristics

  • Strong ability to solve practical problems encountered in the laboratory.
  • Good informal communication skills within the research group.
  • Besides technical skills, we are looking for a curious and ambitious candidate who is highly self-motivated to do research and to contribute in solving the global challenge of CUI. 

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering, within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include (Departments to choose from the following):

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Research plan or project proposal
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment
  • Name and address of three referees

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Ole Jørgen Nydal, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact ingrid.wiggen, e-mail:

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-128/20 when applying.

Application deadline: 15.06.20

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Energy and Process Engineering

We conduct research and teaching covering the entire energy chain, from resources to the end-user. We look at how energy is produced and used by humans and machines in a sustainable way with regard to health, climate change and the resource base. The Department of Energy and Process Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 15th June 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Department of Energy and Process Engineering

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