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Job posted by Academic Positions (24/02/2016 16.15)

PhD position: Vegetation as an urban heat island mitigation strategy

The Chair of Building Physics of ETHZ studies the multiple physical aspects of building materials and urban microclimate. Urban heat island mitigation measures are needed to improve the urban microclimate. Cooling can be achieved in urban areas via evapotranspiration from vegetation in parks, urban farms, green roofs or green walls.

PhD position: Vegetation as an urban heat island mitigation strategy

We are looking for a highly skilled and motivated candidate to study the impact of vegetation in urban areas on the local thermal microclimate and the associated airflow. Vegetation has an important impact on the urban airflow: it provides porous obstructions to wind, alters buoyancy-driven flow and mixing. Particular questions we want to answer are where evapotranspirative sources in city quarters and on building surfaces have to be placed to maximize the cooling potential of vegetation due to evaporative cooling and shadowing and minimize the potential negative impact of vegetation on heat and pollutant removal from urban areas due to porous obstruction. Flow structures and heat flows in vegetated and non-vegetated urban configurations will be studied by means of wind and water tunnel measurements. The Chair of Building Physics has a fluid tunnel facility consisting of large atmospheric boundary layer wind and water tunnels. Both tunnels are equipped with a time-resolved stereoscopic particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) system. In the water tunnel temperatures and tracer concentrations can be measured with laser induced fluorescence (LIF).Using these techniques, we will quantify the cooling potential of vegetation in urban areas and propose urban heat island mitigation strategies. Additional to the measurements, simulations involving CFD including heat and moisture as scalars will be done to further deepen our knowledge.

The candidate should be a communicative scientist with a strong background in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics and should have an interest in wind or water tunnel measurements (PIV, CTA, and LIF). Experience in CFD is beneficial. The candidate should have a master degree in mechanical or civil engineering, Physics or equivalent. The candidate should be proficient in English.

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

Engineering - Mechanical engineering
- Civil engineering
Environmental science
Technology - Environmental technology
Physics - Thermodynamics

Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)

Research Profiles

Not defined

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ETH Zurich





Postal Code



Rämistrasse 101

ETH Zurich

Rämistrasse 101
8006 - Zurich