Researcher (Ph.D/Postodoc) position - DEM modeling of wave propagation in granular soils


Function types
Scientific fields
Job number
Research, Development, Innovation, Postdoc positions, PhD positions
Natural Sciences, Engineering
38.0 hours per week
€ 3044 - € 3997
University Graduate

Job description

We are seeking a full time researcher with interests in granular physics, geomechanics, continuum mechanics, computer modelling and the discrete element methods (DEM) to join University of Twente (Netherlands), to work on DEM modelling of wave propagation in granular materials.

The successful applicant will be inserted in a team studying the effects of pore pressure (overpressure) on the elastic properties of granular soil, as related to reservoir exploration. The project, funded by industry involves three different units, devoted to laboratory investigations, numerical and continuum modeling of the problem. Frequents visits and scientific meetings between the three units are planned.

Project details:

Motivation of the three-partners program is the correct pore-pressure prediction in reservoirs for a safer and more efficient (wave-)exploration before drilling, for development and production operation. Traditional methods to predict overpressures are mostly empirical. The program is aimed at a complete and physically-based description of the problem for characterization of granular soils in dry and over-pressured conditions.

The project will rely on laboratory mechanical characterization of idealized and reconstructed soil samples, field data and ground explorations. Within this framework, the research at Utwente will specifically work on Discrete Element Simulations of wave propagation in granular soils. Goal is to extract information from particle-scale simulations and develop a multiscale theoretical description for characterization of granular soils in overpressure environments. The synergy of the three groups working on experiments, simulations and theoretical modeling, along with the company experience, offer the perfect condition for a successful project.

The researcher will be asked to perform Discrete Element simulations on numerical element-tests and compare them with laboratory tests carried on by partner institutions. Then, the focus will be at the evolution of the elastic response along the stress paths to extract the basic microstructural information/parameters to be included in the theoretical formulation.

In a further stage, propagation of waves through particle systems saturated in a fluid will be considered. The Discrete Element will be coupled with a continuum solver to reproduce the fluid phase. In this way the influence of the pore pressure will be studied by tuning directly the characteristics of the fluid.


Both types of candidates having either a M.Sc or Ph.D degree are entitled to apply for this project. The ideal candidate will have an MSc degree (a Ph.D degree respectively) in a relevant field such as physics, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, materials science or related areas. Knowledge of DEM modelling or other numerical methods (FEM or Lattice Boltzman) and/or experience in wave propagation analysis would be advantageous.

Furthermore, an appropriate quailfication in the English Language together with excellent communication and organizational skills are required.

Information and application:
The project will be conducted under the supervision of Prof. S. Luding and Dr. V. Magnanimo. For applications please upload your CV, list of references and motivation letter through the button below. For more information about the project you can contact Dr. V. Magnanimo,

Further information can be found at

Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications before 31 May 2016.

Conditions of employment

This research position is for 1 year based at University of Twente (Enschede, the Netherlands). There is a possibility to extend the contract for two more years. Within the framework of the project, the researcher can start a PhD program or pursue a Postdoc project.

The gross monthly salary for a researcher (in his first year after graduation) is € 3044,- per month in the first year and will increase in the next year in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement.


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (CTW) is one of the six faculties of the University of Twente. CTW combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: MIRA, CTIT, SBE and IGS.

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