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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Post-doc & Ph.D positions...

Post-doctoral position at Univ. Pittsburgh: soft tissue Buckling

A post-doctoral position is available in the lab of Sachin Velankar at the University of Pittsburgh to conduct experimental research on buckling of soft tissues in cephalopods (octopus or cuttlefish).

A portion of this research - in collaboration with Prof. Roger Hanlon of Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA - will involve measuring mechanical properties of cephalopod tissues.  Accordingly, experimental expertise with mechanical characterization of tissues, and background knowledge of tissue mechanics is critical.  A portion of the work will use synthetic soft materials such as elastomers or hydrogels.  Experience with making and photopatterning such materials is desirable although not critical.  Finally, since we will be examining buckling phenomena, a famialirity with the basics of buckling in a civil/mechanical engineering context is desirable but not critical.

This fellowship is funded by a grant from the U.S. Air Force.  The post-doctoral fellow will have substantial independence in pursuing his/her own research ideas, and this fellowship would be an excellent platform to launch their own independent career.  This project offers are also opportunities to collaborate with an expert on numerical simulation.  A commitment of roughly 1.5 years is expected, although a somewhat shorter or longer period can be considered.

Interested candidates should email
Sachin Velankar
Associate Professor
Dept. of Chemical Engineering
University of Pittsburgh
PA 15261 USA
Ph. 412-624-9984
Fax 412-624-9639


PhD positions at the University of Sheffield

Two PhD studentships of three years duration are available Department of Civil and Structural Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust. 

PhD Studentships - Leverhulme Trust

The influence of microstructure on wave and front propagation through heterogeneous media

Two PhD studentships of three years duration are available Department of Civil and Structural Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust. The studentship will fully cover University tuition fees at EU/UK level, provide a tax-free bursary of £13290. Closing date for applications is the 24th September 2010.

The project

You will be supervised by a team based at the University of Sheffield including Prof. Harm Askes, Dr. Terry Bennett and Dr. Inna Gitman, but will work with a wider group of academics including Dr William Parnell in Manchester and three other PhD students on the Leverhulme Trust funded project entitled “The influence of microstructure on wave and front propagation through heterogeneous media”

Inhomogeneous materials (whose properties vary as a function of space) are ubiquitous in the world around us. Understanding their material behaviour in a dynamic context is important for many applications in which materials are subjected to complicated dynamic loadings. This understanding can be exploited to control the dynamic properties of materials, e.g. the design of so-called ``stop bands'' (bands of frequencies that are not able to propagate through a material or structure) and the way that fronts propagate through materials.

The role of microstructure is central to the dynamic performance of the material. All materials possess some kind of microstructure (i.e. crystals in metals, fibres in natural materials such as timber and bone, or the laminae of layered composites), and the particular material properties of the constituents as well as their geometric arrangement are important aspects that determine how the material behaves.

This projects will focus on developing numerical models for front and wave propagation through inhomogeneous media. Project 1 will in particular be specifically  interested in how the dispersion and dissipation of the idealized wave depends upon the microstructure and way in which this is distributed. Multi-physics effects such as thermo-elasticity will be considered in project 2. These numerical models will then be compared with analytical models developed by the team based at the University of Manchester.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities or Duties:   

The project will involve developing hybrid analytical/numerical models for front propagation through inhomogeneous materials and interacting with the team at the University of Manchester who will be developing  analytical models of similar physical situations. The successful applicant will work in a team of researchers including other research students at the University of Sheffield  together with the team based at the University of Manchester. Monthly meetings either in Manchester or Sheffield will be held to assess progress.
The appointed individual will be expected to carry out the appropriate research on front propagation, as directed by the team of Prof. Askes, Dr. Gitman and Dr Bennett and this will include writing scientific articles when appropriate. The appointee will also be expected to present work both within the department, externally and perhaps to industrial partners.

Essential Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

It is essential that the individual appointed should:
  • have or be in the process of completing a undergraduate degree in engineering, applied mathematics, physics, or relevant discipline at the level of at least upper second class honours
  • have the potential to conduct high quality computational research;
  • have a strong background in engineering / mathematics at undergraduate level, with relevant computer programming experience.
  • have a strong interest in engineering / mathematics with an eagerness to learn and develop new methodologies and techniques, both theoretical and computational;
  • have a willingness to work within a team;
  • have a willingness to disseminate the research via the writing of scientific articles and conference participation
  • have excellent communication and organizational skills.

How to apply

Interested candidates should email their Curriculum Vitae to Dr Terry Bennett  (email: together with a personal statement (~300 words) stating why you particularly want to study for a PhD, why you think you are suited to a research degree and what particularly attracts you to this project.
Please visit the Computational Mechanics and Design Research Group's homepage ( for further information about the projects within the group and ( or for information about the department s and other research groups.

PhD position at the University of Virginia

A PhD position in the area of mechanics of heterogeneous materials is open in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Virgina. 

The successful candidate will possess strong analytical and computational skills, as well as an MS degree in a related field. A TOEFEL score of 90 plus is required for admission into the SEAS PhD Program at the University of Virginia in the case of international student applicants. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will start his/her PhD studies at some point in the spring of 2011.  

Interested students should email their CV's and brief statements  of interest and career goals to Professor Marek-Jerzy Pindera at, and then contact him by phone at 434-924-1040. 

PhD position - Modelling of confinement and interfacial effects in small scale plasticity

The project is based on the well-known size effect exhibited by metals, i.e the fact that their strengths are greatly enhanced when at least one microstructural lengthscale is scaled down to the nanometer range or when the size of the object is restricted to the micron or sub-micron range. At these scales the interfaces and their associated properties play a significant role. This project will focus on the effect of spatial confinement on the three most common deformation mechanisms: dislocation glide, mechanical twinning and mechanically-induced martensitic phase transformations; and will be based on the synergies between physically-based phenomenological modelling using strain-gradient plasticity at the highest scale, and thorough experimental characterisation of the micro and nano-mechanics of model materials and systems. The general aim of the work is to enrich the existing phenomenological models with a physically-based description of the confinement conditions and their evolutions.

These will be determined experimentally on a number of model systems exhibiting various deformation mechanisms and diffrents properties of the interfaces present within the structure. More particularly, the computational development will be structured as follows:

- Selection and development of a crystal plasticity framework able to incorporate size effects,
- Development of a framework for modelling various types of plastic confinement conditions
- Application to several model problems for dislocation glide (with interactions with experimental teams)
- Extensions to twinning and martentitic transformations 

ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles) is a full university. The project will be carried out within its Faculty of Applied Sciences (Engineering Faculty) as a joint project between experimental and computational teams. The computational developments will be performed within the Structural and Materials Computational 
Mechanics Group of the BATir
Department. The group currently consists of 3 full-time professors, 5 post-doctoral fellows and 10 PhD students; all active in Computational Mechanics fields. The group has international connections with research teams in France (ENS Cachan), The Netherlands (TUEindhoven, TUDelft), Spain (UPC Barcelona) and Portugal (ITC Lisbon).
Interested applicants are asked to send
a motivation letter together with your CV AND academic records (grades
for all courses)
to prof. T.J. Massart ( -

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