2 PhD Positions on The Delft Laminar Hump – Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) – Delft

  • Delft

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

About the project:
The transition of airflow from laminar to turbulent state is a major contributor to aerodynamic drag and consequently aircraft emissions. Often, unavoidable modifications of the wing surface, such as panel joints or skin deformations decrease the extent of laminar airflow by promoting transition. However, through our research, we showed that this is not always the case. In a recent breakthrough, our team discovered the “Delft Laminar Hump”, a passive smooth surface modification. The proof-of-concept experiments showed the capability of the Hump to create an unprecedented delay of transition, effectively increasing the extent of laminar flow.

The “Running up that Hill” project aims at achieving a clear physical understanding of the interaction between laminar-turbulent transition and surface modifications such as the Delft Laminar Hump. The fundamental and technical outcomes of this work will position Hump-like surface modifications as an enabling technology for curbing environmental emissions of aviation.

In addition to fundamental work, the project is supported by leading aerospace partners such as KLM, DNW, and Deharde as well as by world-leading groups at U. Waterloo, Canada and KTH, Sweden. Opportunities for research stays with these organisations will be available within the project.

We are seeking two enthusiastic and skilled PhD candidates to join our team and work on this exciting project.

Important: during submission, please indicate in your motivation letter which of the following two positions you are interested in:

PhD position 1: will encompass theoretical and numerical modelling, necessary to simulate the effect of surface modifications on swept wing transition. Flow stability analysis tools available in our team can be used, including Orr-Sommerfeld solvers, linear/non-linear Parabolised Stability Equations and our non-linear Harmonic Navier-Stokes solver. An extensive validation effort will involve high-fidelity Direct Numerical Simulations, in collaboration with the group at KTH Stockholm (Prof. D. Henningson and Dr. A. Hanifi). Research stays at KTH will be covered by the project.

PhD position 2: will explore the experimental design and testing of laminar hump models and undertake advanced flow measurements to characterise the underlying transition mechanisms. The candidate will work in the state-of-art windtunnel facilities at TU Delft. The experimental activities will also involve collaboration with U. Waterloo, Canada (Prof. S. Yarusevych), with research stays available.

About the team:
We are a young, international, and diverse team of colleagues working on topics closely related to the newly founded chair of Flow Control. We approach problems in a horizontal “team spirit” and continuously traverse boundaries between theory, simulations, and experiments towards understanding and controlling fluid flows. Our team, strives for a co-creative and stimulating environment where we can develop our skills as a scientist, team member and teacher. We place great emphasis on a collegial working environment where everyone is welcome and encouraged to shape their PhD track. We also enjoy many team-building activities and events where you can get to know your teammates in a different environment, share personal life experiences and have a great time outside of the lab!

Almost 90% of our laboratory and offices are wheelchair accessible, including all wind tunnel facilities. If you have any specific concerns about accessibility, please don’t hesitate to contact us (see below for contact information).


  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • Delft
  • Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


    The candidates (m/f/x) should meet the following requirements:

  • MSc degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering, applied physics or applied mathematics.
  • Background and affinity in fluid mechanics (e.g. MSc thesis on a fluids-related topic)
  • Good track record in BSc and MSc degrees
  • Proficiency in the English language, both oral and written
  • Strong motivation towards pursuing a PhD and willingness to develop diverse skills
  • Enthusiastic about working in an energetic team and in close collaboration with other researchers
  • The following skills are also highly appreciated:

  • Affinity with flow stability and transition theory and modelling
  • Experience with high-fidelity numerical simulations
  • Experience with experimental measurement techniques for fluid mechanics
  • Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the .

    Conditions of employment

    Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

    Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

    Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

    For international applicants, TU Delft has the . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


    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 as one of our core and we actively to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

    Challenge. Change. Impact!


    Faculty Aerospace Engineering

    The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 270 PhD candidates and close to 3000 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond. 

    Click to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

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