PhD-scholarship in polymer tribology

Job omschrijving

The Tribology research group at Soete Laboratory ( in the Department of Mechanical Construction and Production of Ghent University is seeking to appoint a highly motivated PhD-student who will develop polymer composites for ultra-low friction at dry contact condition. The research group at Ghent University has a first class track record in tribology and machine elements and is embedded in the Metal Structures Centre ( that hosts over 200 researchers and technicians active in tribology, fracture mechanics, fatigue, plasticity, stability of structures, joining techniques and corrosion.

The aim of the project is to gain knowledge on polymer tribology and the influencing factor on friction and wear characteristics such as transfer layer, internal lubricants and pv limits and thereby developing tailor made composites. The fundamental knowledge will be used to improve material characteristics and thus increasing the lifetime or/and to reduce investment cost of plastic engineering components. The research activities will be performed in Ghent University (Belgium).


The proposed project aims to develop tribo-composites with low friction and high wear resistance, particularly for low speed applications (for e.g. sliders, linear guides…). Selection of matrix, reinforcement and lubricants is to be done where consideration will be given for strength and tribo characteristics. In the process of composite development test methodologies is to be developed for tribotesting of polymers. Beside conventional variables the research will define the parameter characteristics (transfer layer thickness, morphology, topography, molecular chain length) for ranking the tribological properties. The PhD-job offered mainly aims at developing experimental macroscopic wear models. A suitable surface and material characterization techniques should be adopted for which the output can be related to tribological characteristics. High-end techniques such as in-situ monitoring of moving surfaces is to be implemented for understanding the particle generation process and the homogeneity of the surface state. On the whole the fundamental understanding will lead to development of a low friction tribo-composites which will be used for energy saving applications.


• A highly motivated candidate with a strong academic record and a ME degree in the field of Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering or MSc/MPhil in Physics.

• Equally important is that you show a true passion for technology and engineering.

• Previous research experience and/or demonstrations of out-of-the-box thinking are a plus.


• Since we are an international team, English is the main language and proficiency in written and spoken English is crucial. 

Job aanbod

Unique opportunity to perform interdisciplinary research in mechanical and materials engineering

Work at a leading scientific institution in Europe with dedicated professionals


Offering outstanding career development and professional support


We offer a full-time PhD position in a high-level international team at the University of Ghent, including an attractive salary and benefits package. Most importantly, we offer the opportunity to do cutting edge scientific research in an international environment.

Hoe solliciteren

For more information about this job opportunity and submitting your application, please contact Prof. Patrick De Baets ( Please mention "PhD position in polymer tribology" in the subject line.


The deadline for this job application is 15thJuly, 2015.

Online solliciteren

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