PhD position Light Weight Cable Systems for all/Hybrid Electric Aircraft

Research / Academic

Onboard cable systems of all/hybrid electric aircraft must be capable of handling electric power in multi-megawatt range. To reduce the weight of the cabling system, either the voltage level has to increase, or alternative cabling solution such as actively cooled cables or superconducting cables must be considered. In the near term, high voltage low current solutions are the main focus. Voltage levels up to several kV are envisioned for future large electric aircrafts. Reliability of onboard electrical system is of extreme concern. A wide range of operating conditions is applicable, inclduing temperature ranges from -85 °C to 200 °C, pressure ranges from 1 atm – 0.2 atm, a wide range of humidity, combine with an environment with a significant amount of vibrations. This, in combination with high voltage, increases the aging rate as well as the likelihood of partial discharge initiation. Presence of partial discharges accelerates the aging process even more and results in rapid degradation of insulation systems, which can lead to unexpected short circuits and catastrophic failures. The goal of this research is to study aging mechanisms, methods for diagnostic and monitoring and residual lifetime estimation of onboard high voltage cabling systems.
TU Delft is hiring two PhD students to study aging mechanism of onboard high voltage (HV) cabling system considering the impact of different environmental factors under absence or presence of partial discharges, as well as to develop and demonstrate a functional partial discharge based diagnostics and monitoring system for onboard high coltage cabling system of all/hybrid electric aircrafts. 
We offer a four-year PhD appointment, with an anticipated start date between 01-03-2024 and 01-12-2024. You will be supervised by, Mohamad Ghaffarian Niasar and Peter Vaessen.
Your research is part of Luchtvaart in Transitie initiative with the specific focus on electric cabling system of all/hybrid electric aircrafts. You will be coaching and mentoring master students. Fostering a synergetic, open-minded, and win-together culture, we regularly interact and share views, unlocking opportunities, forms of incubation, and deployment of knowledge and ground-breaking developments. We also stimulate a healthy and inclusive work environment in which you can bring out the best in yourself. And we value autonomy, professionalism, and a balanced work-life approach.
You will benefit from extensive training in technical and transferrable skills.
About the department
The research in the Department of Electrical Sustainable Energy is inspired by the technical, scientific, and societal challenges originating from the transition towards a more sustainable society and focuses on four areas:

  • DC Systems, Energy Conversion and Storage (DCE&S)
  • Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD)
  • Intelligent Electrical Power Grids (IEPG)
  • High Voltage Technologies (HVT)

The Electrical Sustainable Energy Department provides expertise in these areas throughout the entire energy system chain. The department owns a large ESP Laboratory assembling High Voltage testing, DC Grids testing, PV testing and a large RTDS that is actively used for real-time simulation of future electrical power systems.
The High Voltage Technologies (HVT) group, headed by Professor Peter Vaessen, works on the future of our power system. The goal is to generate, transmit and use electrical energy in a highly reliable, efficient, stable, clean, affordable, and safe way. HVT develops novel and sustainable insulation materials, investigates high voltage components and materials ageing and develops new diagnostic techniques for determining high voltage asset health. The group possesses a well-equipped HV-laboratory within the ESP-lab. 


Essential job requirements

  • Completed a Master's and Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Sustainable Energy Technology, Applied Physics or equivalent.
  • Excellent academic record (grades of B (8) or higher).
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Very good command of English. The minimum requirement of a TOEFL overall band score of 100 (with scores of at least 21 for all sections) or IELTS overall band score of 7.0 (with scores of at least 6.5 for all sections: writing, reading, listening, speaking) applies to all candidates wanting to pursue a PhD at TU Delft.
  • Ability to read and critically analyse high voltage technology, materials and asset management papers.
  • Strong knowledge of high voltage constructions and measurement/diagnostic techniques.
  • You enjoy performing research. You are independent, self-motivated, and eager to learn.
  • You are keen to work with industry partners to link real-world challenges to fundamental research questions.


  • Experience with Matlab and COMSOL.
  • Experience with collaborative software development (e.g. commercial and open source).

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Salary Benefits:

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.
The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 
For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Work Hours:

36 - 40 hours per week


Mekelweg 2