PhD position electrical behaviour of highly loaded EHL contacts (2024)

Published Deadline Location
27 Jun 15 Jul Enschede

Job description

At the Surface Technology and Tribology (STT) chair in the faculty of Engineering Technology (ET), we are currently seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to research on the topic of fundamental understanding of electrical fluid behaviour in Elastohydrodynamic lubricated contacts.

The challenge
Elastohydrodynamically lubricated contacts (EHL) exists in many machine elements. The life of many machines is limited by the life of these EHL contacts. With regards to energy efficiency about 23 % of global energy is lost due to friction. By improving contacts and reducing degradation a societal impact towards zero emission can be achieved.

Whilst film thickness and traction have been studied, the electrical behaviour of the lubricant in the contact as well as possible uses of this behaviour remain an open question. By building a fundamental understanding of the electrical behaviour, novel ways to increase service life, avoid electrical damage, use the contact as an in-situ sensor, and manipulation of the friction can become accessible. We plan to develop a physical understanding of the electrical properties of contact, fluid, and interface to implement this knowledge into application, design, and thus improvement of the lubricated contacts.

The main focus of this work will extending physical understanding of the contact and fluid behaviour.

Our aim is:

To design and perform experiments to investigate the interaction of film, rheology, and interface. Ultimately the goal is to derive the laws governing this behaviour.

Job description
The PhD candidate will plan and implement the research towards the project objectives by:

  • participating in the design and development of electrical EHL experiments.
  • performing in-(/ex-)situ spectroscopic studies to quantify variations in behaviour inside the contact and under high pressure conditions.
  • developing experimentally validated, models of the contact and fluid.
  • Develop a physical understanding of the interaction of electrical and rheological properties of the lubricant.
  • Working with partners and researchers from other departments and research projects to include knowledge into applicable models.

You will actively participate during the progress meetings and discussions of our research chair and project partners. We encourage our researchers to present and publish their results at international conferences and in reputed journals.


University of Twente (UT)


  • MSc (masters) degree in Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Electrical Engineering or equivalent, preferably with a background in tribology.
  • A high interest and drive to also include different fields, e.g., chemical, electrical, or rheological.
  • Experience in experimental design and techniques is an advantage!
  • You are passionate to learn and to improve.
  • You are self-driven and motivated.
  • You thrive in a collaborative environment.
  • You are proficient in English language and interpersonal skills.

Conditions of employment

  • A full-time 4-year PhD position.
  • Excellent working conditions in a very exciting and creative environment within a green and lively campus.
  • A professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente, culminating in professional scientific development and leading to acquiring a PhD degree.
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.770,- (first year) increasing up to € 3.539,- (fourth year).
  • There are attractive benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.
  • A proven pension scheme.
  • Minimum of 29 holiday days per year in case of full-time employment.
  • A vibrant ecosystem with encouraging colleagues and mentorship, where internationalization with equal opportunity is an important aspect of the strategic agenda.

Additional information

If interested, please submit your application before 15th of July, 2024 using the “Apply now” button. Applications should include the following documents:

  • A motivation letter describing why you apply for this position, with a description of your research interests (no more than 1 A4).
  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae.
  • Contact information of 2 references
  • Academic transcripts of courses from your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
  • IELTS (above 6.5) or TOEFL-iBT (above 90) test results, if your master’s program was not in English.

Short-listed candidates will be invited for an (online) interview and a presentation which will probably take place on 22nd July. In close discussion with the candidates some interviews may also be scheduled in mid-August.

If you have questions about the vacancy and for more information, contact Dr. N.F. Bader ( or M.B. de Rooij (

High Tech and Human Touch Join the university of technology that puts people first. Create new possibilities for yourself, your colleagues and society as a whole. Using modern technology and science to drive innovation, change and progress. That’s what it means to work at the University of Twente. Looking for a job that matters?
PhD position electrical behaviour of highly loaded EHL contacts (2024)


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