Universiteit Twente vacancy search engine

PhD Position: "Base Oil Efficiency in Grease Lubricated Bearings"

Vacancy details

General information


The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

As an employer, the ET 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, customizable 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 Position: "Base Oil Efficiency in Grease Lubricated Bearings"

Minimum salary


Maximum salary


Job description

The SKF University Technological Centre for Grease Lubrication at the University of Twente has an opening for a PhD candidate. The goal of this 4-year project is to refine base oil specifications for lubricating greases using methods and principles from fluid mechanics, rheology, complex fluids, thermodynamics and tribology. This will require a thorough understanding of the thin film lubrication properties of oils, which is dictated by their physical and chemical properties. We are looking for base oil properties that engender good lubrication and slow, controlled release of oil. This project is executed in close collaboration with SKF, a leading global bearing manufacturer, and ExxonMobil, a leading global base stock and lubricant manufacturer.

The Challenge
Lubricating grease is a visco-elastic material typically composed of a 5-15% of a thickener matrix, 80-94% base oil (mineral or synthetic) and 1-5% of various additives. The efficiency of grease base oil is a significant factor in bearing performance and durability. The end of grease life in a roller bearing is the point at which the grease can no longer build up a sufficiently thick film to fully separate the contacting surfaces in the bearing. The feed mechanism of oil to the contacts is oil separation, also called “bleed”. An ideal grease would bleed at a constant rate just high enough to provide an oil flow that will yield a film thick enough to lubricate the contacts. Too much bleed will “exhaust” the grease, too little will cause early bearing seizure. Grease bleed is very delicate. It is the result of the grease permeability, the base oil viscosity and the affinity of the base oil to the thickener material. In addition to showing controlled bleed, a good oil should also have excellent “minimum lubrication” properties: it should have properties such that a single drop of oil will lubricate for a very long time.  The challenge here includes finding the ideal grease base oil and establishing a consistent methodology for evaluating base oil efficiency.

You will :

  • study “minimum lubrication”—the minimum amount of oil required to run for a time period—and identify the physical properties that influence this lubrication duration;
  • study bleed behavior in a ball bearing;
  • study the thermodynamics of grease degradation and its impact on bleed;
  • design an experimental test set-up for minimum lubrication;
  • further develop a bleed model with improved base oil properties;
  • closely collaborate with your research team colleagues at the University of Twente;
  • finish your research with a PhD thesis and publish your work in academic journals and at conferences.


  • You hold a master’s degree preferably in Physics. Students with an MSc (or MS) in Mechanical or Chemical Engineering are also encouraged to apply IF the master’s degree work involved a significant “physics component”.
  • You have good knowledge/demonstrated awareness of modelling using Python, C++ and/or MatLab.
  • You have good experimental skills.
  • You have a strong analytical mind and an eye for detail, as well as a critical attitude towards assessment of experimental results.
  • You like to present your results to colleagues, industrial partners and at international conferences.
  • You are passionate about learning new concepts and doing original research.
  • You are fluent in English and express yourself easily both in speech and in writing.

We offer

  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities.
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente.
  • A starting salary of € 2.395 gross per month in the first year up to a salary of € 3.061 in the fourth year gross per month.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • A solid pension scheme.
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.

Information and application

For more information, please contact Dr. Jude A. Osara, PE (j.a.osara@utwente.nl) or Prof.dr.ir. Piet M. Lugt (p.m.lugt@utwente.nl).

We invite applications from candidates, who recently graduated or expect to graduate soon. Your application should be submitted before 27th June, 2021.

Please send the following documents through the link  “Apply now” below:

  • Letter of motivation and/or research interest.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • List with grades of courses attended from both Bachelor and Master degrees.
  • References and, if applicable, a list of publications.

Position localisation

Job location

Nederland, Enschede, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB


Drienerlolaan 5 7522 NB Enschede

Candidate criteria

Minimum level of education required

4. Master