PhD scholarship in Damage Tolerant Composite Materials for Wind Turbine Blades

DTU Wind Energy
Monday 16 Apr 18

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The section of Composites and Materials Mechanics consists of approximately 40 people and has expertise in manufacturing, testing and modelling of polymer matrix composites reinforced with long aligned fibres. 

The PhD project is part of the new EU project DACOMAT (Damage Controlled Composite Materials), which is an international collaboration with 12 partners, including universities and industrial partners ranging from material manufacturers to designers and manufacturers of composite structures. The general objective of DACOMAT is to develop more damage-tolerant and damage-predictable low-cost composite materials, in particular, aimed for use in very large load carrying constructions like wind turbine rotor blades. The developed materials and condition monitoring solutions should enable composite structures to contain more and larger manufacturing defects and should reduce the need for manual inspection significantly.
Responsibilities and tasks
The PhD project will concern damage tolerance of composite materials subjected to static and cyclic loading. The objective is to facilitate multiple cracks along the interfaces in a layered composite by controlled mechanical properties by surface treatments.
This work will involve:

  • manufacturing specimens with tailored interface properties
  • subjecting these specimens to various mechanical testing procedures
  • micro-scale single fibre fragmentation test
  • micro-scale single fibre peel off test
  • macro-scale fracture mechanics testing using double cantilever beam (DCB-UBM)
  • sub-component ply drop specimen testing
  • the use of various sensors and non-destructive techniques to characterize damage evolution
  • acoustic emission
  • ultrasound
  • thermography
  • digital image correlation
  • X-ray tomography
Solid mechanics modelling of specimens with multiple cracks will be made by the finite element method using cohesive zone modelling.
Due to the varied nature of this work, it will be necessary to collaborate effectively with several of your new colleagues within the section. The project thus presents an opportunity to form an integrated overview of the value of innovative material technology to DTU Wind Energy and the wind energy industry.
The project is due to commence in July 2018.
Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering. Preference will be given to applicants with documented experience in composite materials, sensors/NDT and solid mechanics.
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and an academic freedom tempered by responsibility.
Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The workplace is DTU Risø Campus near Roskilde.
You can read more about career paths at DTU here.
Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Bent. F. Sørensen (, Senior Scientist Stergios Goutianos ( or Senior Development Engineer Malcolm McGugan (
You can read more about DTU Wind Energy at
Please submit your online application no later than 2 May 2018 (local time).
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)  
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.
The Department of Wind Energy is one of the world’s largest centres of wind energy research and knowledge, with a staff of more than 240 people from 37 countries working in research, innovation, research-based consulting and education. DTU Wind Energy has approximately 40 PhD students. The department’s cross-disciplinary research is organized through strategic research programmes that collaborate with Danish and international universities, research institutions and organizations, as well as the wind industry.
DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.