PhD position on Internal Stress in Coatings

DTU Chemical Eng.
Monday 18 Jun 18

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CoaST Research Centre at DTU Chemical and Biochemical Engineering seeks a qualified candidate for a PhD position on internal stress in coatings.

The Research Center CoaST
The activities in CoaST cover coating technologies from raw materials, over formulation, test and characterization to production and application. In the broad perspective, the center will support development, production and use of high performance coatings with improved sustainability profiles over the lifetime of the coating. Areas of research are anticorrosive coatings for steel structures, blade coatings for wind turbines, intumescent coatings for passive fire protection, antifouling coatings for ships, insulation coatings for heat loss reduction, coatings for the cement- and mineral industries, and coatings for oil- and gas pipelines at high temperature and high pressure.

PhD position

High-performance industrial coatings used on steel structures such as ships, oil rigs, wind tur-bines, pipelines, containers, or process equipment very often rely on chemical curing of two or more reactants in a volatile solvent mixture. Common examples are so-called two-component coatings based on polyepoxide/polyamine and/or polyol/polyisocyanate systems, which is used for corrosion protection. Following application of the liquid coating, the solvents start to evaporate and the low-molecular weight binders and curing agents begin to react. This increases the average molecular weight of the reacting species and eventually a 3-dimensional network with superior mechanical and/or barrier properties will be formed. However, solvent evaporation and chemical curing are strongly coupled rate phenomena, there has to be properly balanced to obtain the desired coating properties. An often seen complication, especially for thick layers of coating and complex geometries, is trapping of solvent in the coating, due to skin formation in the top layer. This develops internal stress in the coating, which, upon stress release, can lead to subsequent cracking. A simple device that can measure internal stress was developed about 40 years ago, but this technique is mostly qualitative and does not live up to present day requirements. In addition, the underlying mechanisms of curing-related cracking are poorly understood.

The focus of the project will be to design and construct an experimental setup that allows quantification of internal stress during curing and solvent evaporation in thermoset coatings. Important considerations are substrate geometry (90 degree angles in particular) and curing conditions (e.g. temperature). Following construction of the setup, relationships between development in internal stress, cracking, and coating formulation should be mapped and mechanisms proposed. The practical outcomes of the project are recommendations for how to control and reduce internal stress during spray application and subsequent curing of thermoset coatings.

Candidates should have a master's degree in chemical engineering. In addition, the grade average (Danish grading scale, see DTU homepage) of the master degree should be at least eight and preferably higher.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.   

Further information
For further information on the projects contact: Associate Professor Søren Kiil, or Professor, Head of Department Kim Dam-Johansen,  

You can read more about DTU Chemical Engineering here.   

Please submit your online application no later than 1 August 2018 (local time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF fileThe file must include: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.