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Postdoc in Fundamentals of hydration reactions in cement-ferrous slag systems

Research / Academic
Eindhoven

Do you want to be part of the transition to fossil-free steelmaking and find a sustainable application for the millions of tons of co-produced slags each year? For this up to 4yr position we seek a postdoc to work on kinetics and fluid phase equilibria in cementitious system who is motivated to discover the key parameters for circular use of slags in building materials.

Job Description

In the next seven years the iron & steel industry, as well as the cement industry will drastically transform their production processes to achieve major reductions in CO2-emissions and a circular economy as mandated by the European Green Deal. As part of this process steel production will change from carbothermic to hydrogen based. This will lead to significantly different slags with consequences for both the steel and the cement industry. Concrete is by far the most produced material in the world, and reducing its environmental impact is a major concern. Currently granulated Blast Furnace slag from carbothermic iron-production is used to replace up to 85% of Ordinary Portland cement clinker. In future fossil-free steelmaking the Blast Furnace slags will no longer be available. In this project the future slag types will be explored for application in cement and concrete in the following ways: as an SCM in combination with Portland cement clinker, as a standalone binder, as constituents of high density concrete (aggregate and binder) for coastal protection and as autoclaved products. The input slag materials and output slag-based products will be characterized with state-of-the-art measurement techniques. The resulting streams of materials will be used to design and produce new circular building materials at pilot scale. The research is part of the Materials Innovation Institute (M2i) project 'SLAK', comprising a collaboration between TU/e and Industry partners Tata Steel IJmuiden, Heidelberg Materials, ECOCEM and Pelt& Hooykaas. Pilot scale facilities will be available at the Centre de Recherches Métallurgiques and ResourceFull. The project will also involve 3 PhD positions.

Postdoc position in fundamentals of hydration reactions in ferrous slag and blended cement systems:

The position focuses on the design and carrying out of experiments on hydration reactions of slag cement systems including in-situ monitoring of reaction progress and rheological change. Using XRD time series with Rietveld quantification, isothermal calorimetry, ion-selective electrodes, conductivity, fluid phase extraction, acoustic measurements on setting and hardening. This data will be used to develope data interpretation in terms of chemical phase equilibria using and expanding appropriate software (FactSage, EQ3, PHREEQC) to develop a fundamental physical-chemical understanding of slag reactivity. Additionally assisting with the supervision of the 3 PhD students on the project is expected.

The postdoc will join the Building Materials group which consists of ~25 PhDs, 2 postdocs, 2 assistant professors, 1 associate professor, and 2 full professors. This research group works on new, sustainable, and circular building materials containing or synthesized from secondary raw materials with good chemical, physical and aesthetic properties, and added functionalities. Examples are natural fibers, fly ashes, nano-silica, aerogels, slags or recycled aggregates. Functionalities, including fire resistance, air purification, self-cleaning, high performance, and hydrophobicity, are investigated and developed for these building materials. Moreover, durability and sustainability, such as the degradation of, or leaching from, building materials when exposed to aggressive service environments, are studied. The investigations are carried out based on experimental observations and modeling.

The research group possesses a well-equipped, state-of-the-art building material laboratory for physical/chemical/mechanical/environmental treatment, testing and recycling, and has access to the structural design laboratory at the same department, and shares facilities with the sister Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. The group has close contacts with the building material industry and frequently cooperating with other researchers, both domestic and international.

Requirements:

  • We are looking for excellent and highly motivated candidates with a PhD degree in engineering or sciences with an interest in both modeling and experimentation and strong experience with circularity.
  • You should be able to work independently, have strong communication skills, the attitude to participate successfully in an international and multidisciplinary team, and the ability to teach and supervise PhD students.
  • Any of the following could be considered an advantage and should be mentioned in the motivation letter:
  • PhD in science or engineering (e.g. geology, materials, chemical…) with experience in thermodynamic modeling.
  • Experience as post-doc, staff member, or other equivalent experience.
  • Several publications and scientific communications in this field.
  • Previous experience with building, or geological materials and their processing/characterization.
  • Experience with relevant chemical/physical/mechanical characterization techniques (XRD, XRF, SEM, FTIR, tensile, flexural etc…).
  • Affinity with (raw) materials research and laboratory experience.
  • Good leadership skills shown by successful supervision of students/researchers.
  • Teaching experience.


  • A sufficient English language level, both written and spoken, is required. Proofs of English level (such as certificates, coursework followed in English, manuscripts written in English etc.) should be mentioned. Candidates who do not the title of PhD/Doctor will not be considered for the current vacancy.


Salary Benefits:

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • A full-time employment for up to 4 years.
  • Salary in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale 10 (min. € 3.877,-max. € 5090,-).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  •  High-quality training programs on general skills, didactics and topics related to research and valorization.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • Partially paid parental leave and an allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A TU/e Postdoc Association that helps you to build a stronger and broader academic and personal network, and offers tailored support, training and workshops.
  • A Staff Immigration Team is available for international candidates, as are a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) and a compensation for moving expenses.
Work Hours:

38 hours per week

Address:

De Rondom 70