Two PhD openings in digital fabrication with concrete – Zurich, Switzerland

Posted 2 months ago

The Chair for Physical Chemistry of Building Materials of ETH Zurich has two openings for PhD positions in digital fabrication with concrete, specifically on material science issues. These PhDs are part of the 3rd phase of the Swiss National Science Foundation National Centre for Competence in Research – Digital Fabrication in Architecture, a large, multidisciplinary project aimed at researching opportunities to implement digital fabrication processes at large, architectural scales.

Project background

Digital fabrication in construction is undergoing rapid development and receiving a lot of attention from both industry and academia. Researching solutions that enable the uptake of digital fabrication with concrete into practice has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the construction industry. Many barriers remain, however, to this implementation. Digital fabrication with concrete relies primarily on the development of systems that control hydration product formation (setting) and have not demonstrated adequate robustness to material, process, or environmental perturbations. Additionally, these processes have been developed for successful production and adequate strength development, but little attention has been paid to durability performance. These two PhD projects aim to address these current research topics.

Job description

The first PhD will focus on robust control of material properties during processing, managing the effects of variation in raw materials, and environmental conditions such as temperature. An important focus will be enabling the move from prefabrication to onsite production.

The second PhD will focus on durability of digital concrete prepared as a two-component system, including a set accelerator. A first focus will consist of the phase assemblage stability of such systems, in particular when using low carbon footprint cements. A second aspect will consider the role of cold joints formed between layers during extrusion 3D printing.

Your profile

You should hold a Master’s degree in material science, chemical engineering or civil engineering. Candidates with experience in at least one of the following topics will be preferred: mineral binders, digital fabrication, and materials chemistry. Good experimental skills are a must. An excellent oral and written level in English is essential. Conversational knowledge of German is an advantage, but the desire to learn it is a must.

The project is part of the Swiss National Competence Centre for Research in Digital Fabrication in Architecture. As such, it is embedded in a large research effort involving many other groups, so good communication skills and a willingness to collaborate with other researchers are essential.

We offer

We offer many chances for jump-starting an academic or industrial research career in cement and concrete technology, with a strong basis in materials chemistry and rheology. Our highly diverse and international group also offers many networking opportunities through academic societies such as RILEM, industry connections, as well as internal ETH connections, especially within the National Centre for Competence in Research – Digital Fabrication in Architecture. We are committed to diversity by allowing flexibility in working hours, home office, and other measures to ensure team members can adequately perform their roles.

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Names and contact information (email address) of three references

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Physical Chemistry of Building Materials can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr Timothy Wangler, Tel +41 44 633 2943 or email (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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