TU Delft

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Originele vacaturetekst

PhD on Bitumen Properties and Rejuvenation

Job description

This research aims at having a better insight into current changes and mapping the potential sources of change in the binder market in relation to binder property or quality and consistency. Another aspect is the on-going transitions in the refineries. As a result, there are inconsistencies in the crude source and physico-chemical properties of bitumen in the market. Next to variable sources of base bitumen, the use of liquid additives as bitumen modifiers has been increased in the past years. These additives can be from different chemical origins and physical properties (i.e. viscosity). For recycling applications, additives are used to replenish the aged bitumen properties and commonly known as ‘rejuvenators’. The use of rejuvenators has resulted in a new stream of complex bituminous binders, where the molecular composition and their mutual interaction are more complex than neat bitumen. The scope of this research includes an improved fundamental understanding of the influence of the crude oil source, rejuvenators and processing on bitumen performance and its impact on asphalt performance. It also aims to define additional performance indicators for binders that can better predict the functional properties of asphalt.

The PhD will be assessing the chemo-mechanical properties of the binders using the state of the art characterization techniques. Oxidation kinetics and potential for rejuvenation of bituminous binder with varying qualities will be investigated. Recycling potential and long term performance of these binders will be studied at the fundamental level. Furthermore, the knowledge available at the binder scale will be linked to the relevant functional properties of asphalt concrete.

The PhD candidate will specifically be involved in the following aspects:

  • Developing insights into the effect of bitumen properties and consistency variations and state of the art rejuvenation practices;
  • Evaluation of chemo-mechanical properties of the fresh and rejuvenated aged
    bitumen binders in relation to short and long term properties and its suitability for using in asphalt construction;
  • Evaluation of the susceptibility of variable sources of bitumen binder and
    rejuvenator to oxidation and physical hardening and how these influence the resistance to the raveling-damage mechanism;
  • The establishment of evaluation methods for bitumen rejuvenation, including
    rejuvenator characterization, rejuvenator efficiency and stability.

This position will be part of a larger research programme ‘Knowledge-based Pavement Engineering 2021-2024’, funded by Rijkswaterstaat, the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands. During the project, PhD candidate will interact with other researchers and experts at TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research, and Rijkswaterstaat.


The preferable candidate has a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Civil Engineering or Materials Science or Chemical Engineering or other related scientific domains.

The necessary requirements are:

  • Acquaintance with pavement materials and engineering.
  • Experience in multi-scale tests for identification of basic chemo-mechanical
    properties of material.
  • Knowledge and skills on molecular dynamics simulations
  • Affinity for working and studying in an international team
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. If your mother language is not English and you do not hold a degree from an institution in which English is the language of instruction, you must submit proof of English proficiency from either TOEFL (minimum total score of 100) or IELTS (minimum total score of 7.0). Proof of English language proficiency certificates older than two years are not accepted.

Furthermore, the candidate shall be open to working in a team within an interactive and stimulating environment. Advanced problem-solving skills and a prominent interest in contributing to scientific research are essential elements to the position. Proactiveness, independence, and reliability in effectively and timely delivering tasks are fundamental prerequisites. Enthusiasm and passion for Pavement Engineering are very valuable factors.

Conditions of employment

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Civil Engineering & Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource depletion, urbanisation and the availability of clean water, conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to achieve our goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

The education and the research program of the Pavement Engineering Section concentrate on the characterization of pavement materials at various scales, using both experiments and numerical models, and the design and maintenance of various pavements. PhD-research is mainly oriented towards the aging and the healing response of asphalt mixtures, their rejuvenation, and recycling. Also, research is performed on soil stabilization via various techniques and on the design, analysis, and construction of different pavements. The Section is equipped with state-of-the-art experimental and parallel computing facilities. The experimental facilities cover the full-scale range, from chemical and nano-scale techniques, such as Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy(FTIR), Dynamic Vapor Sorption (DVS), Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Our powerful parallel computing facilities enable us to develop and apply advanced numerical models for research at all these levels of material response. Past research and training projects include: 1) Modelling of combined physical-mechanical moisture-induced damage in asphaltic mixes; 2) Healing in bituminous materials by phase segregation; 3) Enhanced driver safety due to improved skid resistance; 4) The impact of wide-base tires on pavement performance; 5) Innovative rejuvenators for reclaimed asphalt; 5) Epoxy asphalt concrete and more others.

Additional information

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Xueyan Liu, Associate Professor, email: X.Liu@tudelft.nl, tel: +31614718066.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Claudia Baltussen, Section Secretary, email: c.y.baltussen@tudelft.nl.

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before August 1st 2021 via the application button and upload:

  • a motivation letter explaining your interests and relevance of your skills/experience to the vacancy
  • detailed CV
  • list of grades/transcripts of BSc and MSc courses
  • Abstract of your MSc thesis (maximum one-page, in English)

You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

38 - 40
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