PhD position 'Consolidation of damaged porous media'

Research / Academic

The Institute of Physics (IoP) has a PhD position 'Consolidation of damaged porous media'.

Porous media such as buildings and artworks can be severely damaged due to e.g., frost or salt crystallization. When the porous material loses its mechanical integrity, solutions have to be found to preserve it by consolidating the material. We propose    a combined experimental and    computational PhD position at the interface between physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering. We are seeking an excellent, highly motivated PhD student to carry out the interdisciplinary research to unravel the routes and underlying mechanisms for the consolidation of porous media. The most promising route for consolidation of stone artworks is to fill the pore space of stones by polymer solutions and induce a sol-gel transition through evaporation of the solvent. While the kinematics of transport and drying of Newtonian fluids in porous media has been widely studied by both experimental and theoretical approaches, the case of non-Newtonian fluids remains largely unexplored. The student will employ a coupled experimental-computational approach to study the drying kinematics of polymer solutions in porous media undergoing a sol-gel transition upon evaporation of the solvent. The macro-mechanical reinforcement of the porous medium driven by the sol-gel transition will be investigated experimentally by tensile tests and numerically by finite element micro-mechanical simulations. Undertaking such a combined and multiscale approach, we will be uniquely positioned to provide a coherent and comprehensive picture of reinforcement of such materials.

What are you going to do?

During your PhD project, you are expected to undertake a dual experimental and computational approach to boost our understanding of the underlying mechanisms consolidation of porous media. You will:

  • experimentally analyze the effect of the evaporation-induced sol-gel transition on the mechanical reinforcement of damaged porous media;
  • develop a novel pore network model for evaporating polymer solutions in porous media;
  • participate in the many seminars by internal and external speakers as well as journal clubs and group activities;
  • present your results in internal seminars and national and international workshop/conferences;
  • write research publications;
  • collaborate with other PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers and other science faculty members;
  • contribute to the education program at the University of Amsterdam by teaching assistance.


  • A master’s degree in either of Physics, physical chemistry, chemical/mechanical engineering disciplines or a closely related field;
  • a strong background in physics of interfaces, statistical physics and    fluid mechanics;
  • a demonstrated computational experience including use of high-level programming languages such as C/C++, and Python or other scripting languages;
  • enthusiasm about and the willingness to interdisciplinary research combing experimental and computational approaches;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

Salary Benefits:

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting as soon as possible for the duration of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,325 to €2,972 (scale P) gross per month, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week


Science Park 904