Join our research team focused on structural battery composite materials. As a PhD student, you will collaborate with experts in computational mechanics, materials science, physics and chemistry. Your responsibility will be to develop computational models within Chalmers’ multi-physics computational framework. You will also make structural battery composites and characterise their multifunctional performance using test methods that we develop at Chalmers.
Your project will be part of the activities on Structural battery composites at Chalmers. Chalmers has pioneered this research for more than one decade. The research is performed in an interdisciplinary team across Chalmers and at our partner universities KTH the Royal Institute of Technology and Imperial College London. Currently, the teams at the three universities comprise approximately 30 people. The project is funded by U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The PhD position is for five years, with research training spanning over four years, and an additional year involves teaching.
Batteries in today’s electric cars constitute a large part of the vehicles’ weight, without fulfilling any load-bearing function. A structural battery, on the other hand, is one that works as both a power source and as part of the structure – for example, in a car body, aircraft interior or laptop casing. This is termed `massless’ energy storage, because in essence the battery’s weight vanishes when it becomes part of the load-bearing structure. Calculations show that this type of multifunctional battery could greatly reduce the weight of an electric vehicle.
For structural batteries to be useful they must perform their electrical energy storage and supply functions under severe mechanical loads, and vice versa their mechanical integrity must be maintained for all states of charge. Here, we set out to develop fully coupled electro-chemo-thermomechanical models for analysis and design of structural battery composites, as well as in-tandem electrochemical-mechanical tests for model validation and data generation.
The model development will be guided by both experimental data and theoretical principles from composite materials mechanics and electro-chemistry. A computational framework developed within Chalmers’ structural battery team will be extended and used to guide further materials development. New experimental methods for characterisation of electrochemical performance of structural battery full cells under tensile loads will also be developed in the project. Material testing and characterisation will be performed in our Composites Laboratory at the Department as well as at Chalmers Material Analysis Lab (CMAL).
The PhD student position will be placed at the Division of Material and Computational Mechanics (Department Industrial and Materials Science). The work will be carried out in close collaboration with researchers at the Division of Materials and Manufacture and the Department of Physics at Chalmers as well as colleagues at KTH the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden and Imperial College London, UK. For more information you find a recent video on massless energy storage – a structural battery with record performance on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB81lkPGGlE.
Your major responsibility as a PhD student is to pursue your own doctoral studies related to the project. The major goal of the project is to develop models for coupled eletro-chemo-thermomechancial processes in structural batteries and to develop experimental methods for characterisation of these multifunctional materials under simultaneous electrochemical and mechanical loads. This includes the development of multi-physics material models, experimental procedures, and implementations in a finite element code. The modeling/experimental scope can be adjusted based on the candidate’s own interests. You are expected to develop your own scientific concepts and communicate the results of your research verbally and in writing. Your research activities will contribute to enhanced knowledge in the scientific field, in particular by presenting your results in scientific journals and at international conferences.
In addition to the research project, you will also take courses on the advanced level within the Graduate school of Solid and Structural Mechanics. The position also includes teaching courses within Chalmers’ undergraduate level, or performing other duties at the department, corresponding to up to 20 percent of working hours
Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.
To qualify for this position, we would like you to have a master’s level degree corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits in Applied Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Materials Science or Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry/ Chemical Engineering or similar. Knowledge in FEM (including programming thereof) is required.
Education in materials science, experimental techniques, numerical analysis and programming is meritorious.
Since communication of knowledge results towards academic and industrial partners is a central part of the work, communicative skills in English (oral as well as in writing) are vital. Furthermore, it will also be expected that you can take on responsibilities within the project, have the ability to take own initiatives and, when needed, work independently. At the same time, being a successful researcher also involves working with others as well as disseminating the results within existing and new networks, both within academia but also to industry and society. Therefore, networking skills, team work skills and quality assurance are important.
Knowledge of the Swedish language is desirable but not a requirement. Chalmers offers Swedish courses.
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Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.
The application should be marked with Ref 20210405 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as pdf-files, as below:
CV:(Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)
• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
• Two references that we can contact.
Personal letter:(Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)
• Describe your future goals and future research focus
• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.
Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. The files may be compressed (zipped).
Application deadline: 3 October, 2021
For questions, please contact:
Professor Leif Asp, Material and Computational Mechanics