PhD Position Thermo-Mechanical Methods of Recycling Fine Aggregates – Recovery of Clean Sand and Cement Paste Rich Powder – TU Delft – Delft

  • Delft

TU Delft

Job description

We are seeking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to join our research team at Resources and recycling, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. The position focuses on developing innovative thermo-mechanical methods of recycling fine aggregates retrieved from construction and demolition waste. The research involves experimental studies to evaluate the effect of heating and mechanical processing techniques on the property of recycled fine aggregates and cement rich powder, such as particle size distribution, morphology, thermal stability, and reactivity. Additionally, the project investigates the performance of concrete mixtures made by incorporating recycled aggregates, including mechanical strength, durability, and environmental impact. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on innovative research ideas that address the critical societal challenges in sustainable construction and contribute to the advancement of circular economy principles in the building sector.

The ultimate goal is to develop a feasible and sustainable recycling technique for fine recycled aggregates and promote their use for construction applications.

Key research objectives are:

  • Develop novel thermo-mechanical processing techniques and investigate the effect of thermo-mechanical parameters (e.g., temperature, residence time, milling) on the morphology, particle size distribution, and surface characteristics of recycled fine aggregates and cement rich powder.
  • Develop a separation technique to enhance the classification of cementitious materials from inert sand fraction within the powder product.
  • Evaluate the mechanical properties (e.g., compressive strength, tensile strength, modulus of elasticity) and durability (e.g., resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, sulfate attack, alkali-silica reaction) of mortar mixes made of recycled fine aggregates and cement rich powder.
  • Assess the environmental impact and life cycle assessment of thermo-mechanical recycling methods compared to conventional recycling approaches.

Resources and Recycling is a research group with strong links to the mineral processing and recycling industries. The group’s ambition is to create breakthroughs in recycling by applying fundamental science to innovative processes and implementing them in collaboration with industry. The ongoing research projects combine theoretical insights and modelling with experiments in the group’s laboratory and pilot plants.

The Department of focuses on the development of resilient, smart and sustainable structures and infrastructures. Our aim is to meet societal demands in transportation, the energy transition and sustainable reuse. Research themes include dynamics of structures, mechanics of materials related to e.g. climate change, modelling and design of railway systems, multi-scale modelling of pavement materials and structures, reuse of materials, structures and parts of structures, assessment methods for structures, smart monitoring techniques, design methods, replacement and renovation of civil infrastructure and development of new materials and maintenance techniques. Our unique Macro Mechanics Laboratory facilities support full-scale testing, monitoring and modelling of structures to facilitate implementation of innovations. The department delivers both groundbreaking research and world-class education for undergraduate and graduate students. As a team, we represent different backgrounds, skills and views. We foster an inclusive culture, as our combined identities, attitudes and ambitions widen our perspective and make up our strengths.


  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent) in civil engineering, materials science, or a related field
  • Strong background in materials characterization, mechanical testing, and/or data analysis
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a research team
  • Prior research experience in recycling, sustainable materials, or related areas is advantageous

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

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.

T he 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.

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 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 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 availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science 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  to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

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