Job details

Job posted by Delft University of Technology via AcademicTransfer (12/07/2014 02.15)

'HR Excellence in Research' logo awarded to institutions actively implementing the European Charter and Code for Researchers Modelling Fluid-Structure Interactions for Inflatable Wings

Fluid-structure interactions can be critical when designing aerodynamical systems. This project aims to numerically model the interactions between the aero- and structural dynamics of a tethered, inflatable wing, at given instants in its flight path. Such wings are used in airborne wind energy concepts. Wind energy systems at high altitudes can harness steadier and faster wind flows than those near the ground. Above 150 metres, however, conventional wind turbines cannot be used because of the amount of materials needed to withstand the high mechanical stresses caused by heavy rotors when placed on towers. TU Delft is conducting research to develop innovative wind energy systems using kites.
Kite power systems are at an early stage of development, and questions remain regarding their operational conditions and optimal design. Because the inflatable wing is lightweight and flexible, the aero- and structural dynamic processes are tightly coupled. The wing's shape is determined by 1) the interaction between aerodynamic wing loading and pressure distribution in the tubes, and 2) internal forces in the membrane fabric and bridle lines. This is a challenging fluid-structure interaction problem that affects the wing's flight dynamics. Due to its low inertia, the wing responds sensitively to control commands, fluctuations of apparent wind velocity, and other changes of geometry or boundary conditions. This PhD project aims to understand these interactions using computational models. The project is multi-disciplinary, involving fluid dynamics, solid dynamics, and numerical analysis.


The candidate should have an MSc degree in an area relevant to the subject, e.g. numerical analysis, engineering (aerospace, mechanical or civil), or applied physics, with preferably a specialisation in numerical methods for fluids and/or deformable solids. A combination of good mathematical/analytical skills and proven experience with research in numerical modelling is required. Having only been a user of FEM or CFD codes is not sufficient.

Nr of positions available : 1

Please note that the full description may be available in the national language since some job boards have their own publication policy. Thank you for your understanding!

Research Fields


Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)
Experienced researcher or 4-10 yrs (Post-Doc)
More Experienced researcher or >10 yrs (Senior)

Research Profile

Not defined


TU Delft offers an attractive benefits package, including a flexible work week, free high-speed Internet access from home (with a contract of two years or longer), and the option of assembling a customised compensation and benefits package (the 'IKA'). Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.
For more information about this position, please contact Axelle Vire e-mail: To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV (including grades) along with a cover letter and the names of at least two persons that are willing to write a letter of recommendation if requested. Please send your application by 31 August 2014 to Sylvia Willems,
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number LR14-09.


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Required Research Experiences
Main Research Field Technology
Required Languages
Language ENGLISH
Language Level Good
Required Education Level
Degree Field Technology
Degree University Graduate
Required Research Experiences
Years of Research Experience 1
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Type of Contract







Delft University of Technology

Hours Per Week


EU Research Framework Programme
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?


Project's Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number


Delft University of Technology

Aerospace Engineering
Stevinweg 1
2628 CN - Delft
email support@academictransfer.nl