PhD scholarship in Dynamic Simulations of Fluid-Structure Interaction of Racing Sailboats

torsdag 15 okt 20

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Frist 29. oktober 2020
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The Department of Mechanical Engineering at DTU is taking part in a research network on sports technology, together with other universities in Denmark. One of the projects is on numerical simulation of Racing Sailboats. The project is in cooperation with Aalborg University, University of Southern Denmark, Team Danmark and Danish Sailing Union. 

Sailboats are complex dynamic systems with interaction between fluid and mechanical forces and with large structural deformations. The goal of this project is to include all the necessary physics in a coupled dynamic numerical model to predict performance and motions of the boat. The resulting simulation model can be used to evaluate the effect of changes in trim, crew movement and equipment for different environmental conditions. These investigations can help sailors in their quest to win the race. 

Responsibilities and tasks
The goal of the project is to develop the numerical simulation model, but other tasks are needed to support and validate the model. Since the project has more cooperation partners and stakeholders, coordination of the research activities is important. 

You will be responsible for: 

  • Development and validation of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model for aero and hydrodynamic forces on the boat
  • Development and validation of a structural Finite Element Model (FEM) of sail, mast, hull structure and foils
  • Coupling of structural and flow models in a combined dynamic numerical model
  • Investigation of material properties of sails and if necessary, conduct testing of material properties of sail samples
  • Coordination and execution of full-scale experiment to get validation data for the numerical model. This include finding relevant equipment suppliers and partners.
  • Coordinate cooperation with external partners and stakeholders
  • Execute simulation studies with the model to produce relevant knowledge for sailors and coaches at the danish national sailing team
  • Publish scientific articles on the models and findings during the research

The focus of the project is on racing sailboat, but the concept of dynamic simulation of sails and boat motions are relevant for the shipping industry as well. There is a strong push from industry and society to reduce carbon emission in the shipping industry. One of the technologies to reduce emissions is to use wind as a supplementary propulsion of the ships. Accurate modelling of the sails and wings for wind propulsion will be essential to speed up the development of new solutions for the industry. 

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. 

You should have experience with:

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • Finite Element Modelling (FEM)
  • Simulation of Aerodynamic forces on sails, wind turbine blades or similar
  • Simulation of Hydrodynamic forces on boats including free surfaces
  • Documented experience with STAR-CCM+

Furthermore, organisational skills and experience with project management is an advantage. 

Approval and Enrolment 
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Jens Honore Walther and Lektor Brian Nyvang Legarth. 

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility. 

Salary and appointment terms 
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Jens Honore Walther, tel.: +45 4525 4327. 

You can read more about the Department of Mechanical Engineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 29 October 2020 (local time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered. 

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply. 

DTU Mechanical Engineering covers the fundamental engineering disciplines within Solid mechanics, Fluid mechanics, Coastal and Maritime Engineering, Energy systems and energy conversion, Materials and Surface Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Engineering design and Product development. The department has a scientific staff of about 135 persons, 100 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of about 80 persons.

Technology for people 
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.