PhD: Physical understanding of microstructure formation for the development of advanced steels

A PhD position is available in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of TU Delft. The PhD will work in the framework of a European project funded by the RFCS (Research Fund for Coal and Steel) in which TU Delft (The Netherlands), TATA Steel (The Netherlands), CENIM-CSIC (Madrid), Ascometal (France) and Schaeffler (Germany) are the participants forming the consortium. The project is expected to start the 1st of October 2020.
This project aims to develop combinations of steel grades and process routes based on innovative, combined use of martensite and bainite reactions, and use these to overcome the current limitations of carbide free bainitic steels for two specific target applications. In a first application, this combination will lead to the development of a 3rd generation high strength sheet with a process route compatible with existing continuous annealing or galvanizing lines. In a second application, it will result in a significant improvement of performance and dramatic reduction of heat-treatment time for the manufacture of high-performance bearings or similar components.
Investigations in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of TU Delft will mainly cover the following points:

  • The strategy for the microstructural design is based on the effect of a pre-existing fraction on martensite on the subsequent bainite reaction kinetics. This phenomenon will be experimentally investigated. Generated knoweldge will be applied in the design of new steel alloys (compositions and treatments) considering industrial processing windows.
  • The microstructural development during the application of this type of heat treatments will be modelled using analytical as well as phase field models. These models will be supported by the experimental studies mentioned in the previous point and will contribute for a better understanding of the investigated microstructural processes.

We are searching for an enthusiastic candidate with the following qualifications:

  • A MSc degree in physics, materials science or a similar field.
  • Knowledge on physics of metals, solid-solid phase transformations and diffusion phenomena as well as computational modelling.
  • A critical and creative approach to research is essential. An “academic attitude” is required: excellent analytical and experimental skills, initiative, curiosity and critical thinking about the research approach and about the results.
  • Ability to integrate in an international and collaborative environment, and good social behavior.
  • Communication skills must include excellent spoken and written English.

contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Technische Universiteit Delft

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.

Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering aims to provide internationally recognized, high-quality materials research of benefit to industry and society, addressing material lifecycle, structure and functionality from a physics-based perspective, and to furnish graduates and post-graduates with a top-level education in materials science and engineering, preparing them to meet existing and future technological and societal challenges. With a focus on metals, the aim is to develop materials with an optimum performance and low environmental footprint.

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Prof. Dr. Maria J. Santofimia, email:, tel: +31 (0) 15-2788250.

For infomarion about the selection procedure, please contact Mrs Hilma Bleeker,

To apply, send the following documents to

  • an up-to-date, detailed curriculum vitae (CV) including a list of publications (if any),
  • a letter of motivation,
  • BSc and MSc transcripts,
  • two references with contact details.

When applying for this position, please refer to the vacancy number 3mE20-29.


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