By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies for the purposes of authentication and adding favourites. Find out more
Universiteit Twente vacancy search engine

PhD project: Shaping turbulence with smart particles

Vacancy details

General information


TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology)

The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

As an employer, the TNW Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.   



Publication start date


Publication date


Publication end date


Vacancy category


Minimum contract hours


Maximum contract hours


Position description


Academic staff - PhD

Job title

PhD project: Shaping turbulence with smart particles

Minimum salary


Maximum salary


Job description

Can we design turbulence? Turbulence is everywhere and yet our fundamental understanding and capabilities to control it remain limited. It is a remarkable property of turbulence that, rather irrespective of the large-scale forcing mechanism, it rapidly tends to restore a universal homogeneous and isotropic state at smaller scales. This tendency to universality severely hinders our capability to modulate turbulence by acting on few (large-scale) degrees of freedom. This program will enter an unexplored terrain and design non-universal turbulence employing “smart” particles capable of applying appropriate small-scale forcing. It will moreover shed light on the physics of complex-shaped particles dispersed in turbulent flows as occurring in nature, take e.g. pollen, plant seeds, fish, bacteria, algae, phytoplankton or sediments. Deeper understanding of these systems will open up the way to technological applications.
In this project a systematic investigation of the dynamics of chiral particles in turbulence is planned by means of tracking of chiral particles, produced by 3D printing technology, and by means of flow velocimetry (PTV, LDV) in well controlled turbulent flows in the Twente water channel, the Twente mass and heat transfer water tunnel, the Twente turbulent Taylor-Couette facility, Boiling Twente Taylor-Couette facility, and the new homogeneous isotropic turbulence facility. 3D printed particles with chiral will be produced and accurately tracked (position and orientation) under well controlled turbulent flow conditions in our world-class turbulence facilities. The influence of fluid inertia on the angular dynamics of almost neutrally buoyant or light particles is an open theoretical question. In this project the center of mass and rotational dynamics of neutrally buoyant and inertial chiral particles will be investigated as a function of the most relevant particle/flow parameters. These include turbulence intensity, particle shape, particle size, and particle density. Typical questions that we want to answer include: how do particles of different sizes influence turbulence? Can the coupling between particle and fluid alter the helicity balance of the turbulent flow? By means of increasing the particle volume fraction we plan to investigate the coupling between particles and flow up to volume fractions of the order of 10%.
To summarize: world class flow facilities, world class high speed imaging, advanced algorithms and analysis to modify turbulence!
More details can be found here:


You have a background in applied physics, aerospace engineering, or mechanical engineering, or in a closely related discipline. You have strong communication skills, including fluency in written and spoken English. You are enthusiastic and highly motivated to do a PhD. Experimental experience and experience in image and data analysis required. Knowledge of (convolutional) neural networks is a plus.

We offer

• We want you to play a key role in an ambitious project in an inspiring and stimulating international work environment.
• We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating, modern research environment with world-class research facilities.
• You will have an employment contract for the duration of 4 years and can participate in all employee benefits the university offers.
• You will be embedded in a dynamic research group with colleagues working on similar topics.
• Additionally, the University of Twente is a green campus with excellent facilities and resources for professional and personal development, and offers a wide variety of sports facilities.
• You will follow a high-quality personalized educational program.
• The research will result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period.
• We strive for diversity and fairness in hiring.

Information and application

Applicants should be in the possession of a master degree in physics, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, or closely related field. Applications should provide:
• A motivation letter describing why you want to apply for this precise position.
• Description of your research interests.
• A detailed CV.
• Academic transcripts from your Bachelor's and Master's degrees.
• Name and email addresses of at least two visible references who are willing to send a letter of recommendation on your behalf.
• An interview with a scientific presentation on your previous work will be part of the interview process.
Potential applicants are encouraged to apply to both Prof. D. Lohse and Assist.Prof. S. Huisman.

The closing date of the vacancy is 31 December 2020.

Position localisation

Job location

Nederland, Enschede, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB


Drienerlolaan 5 7522 NB Enschede

Candidate criteria

Minimum level of education required

4. Master

Scientific area

Natural sciences