KU Leuven

Interfacial reactions and wetting behavior of liquid metals for liquid metal infiltration applications

2024-02-29 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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You will work at the Department of Materials Engineering of the KU Leuven (www.mtm.kuleuven.be). The Department is responsible for education, research and service to industry and society related to materials science and engineering. Both, the university KU Leuven and the Department of Materials Engineering are world-wide strongly positioned in the important rankings related to research, innovation, and education. The candidate will participate as a PhD student to the project “Near-Net Shape Manufacturing of Innovative Multi-Materials” recently funded by the KU Leuven. The project will be carried out at Department of Materials Engineering, under scientific supervision of prof. David Seveno (https://www.kuleuven.be/wieiswie/en/person/00089681 and https://complexurf.be/) and prof. Kim Vanmeensel (https://www.kuleuven.be/wieiswie/en/person/00038090 and https://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/english/research/semper/material-aspects-of-additive-production-techniques-and-welding-processes/material-aspects-additive-production-techniques-welding-processes)
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Near-net shape fabrication has always been a major challenge for the powder metallurgy industry, especially when geometrically-complex parts are targeted, and difficult-to-densify materials or material combinations are envisaged. Extensive and costly hard-machining or green machining, before a final sintering step, requiring a green body with sufficiently high green strength, are required. The current proposal aims at reducing or even eliminating post machining operations and integrating multiple functionalities within a single,geometrically-complex part by the development of multimaterials and/or functionally graded materials, exhibiting a gradient in microstructure, composition or a combination thereof. The targeted multi-material components and associated manufacturing strategies are expected to demonstrate clear added value, lower production cost and improved performance compared to their monolithic counterparts. Threetarget applications will be considered, each linked to a specific powder metallurgy processing route e.g. selective powder deposition, direct ink writing, liquid phase sintering, liquid metal infiltration, etc. involving multiple material combinations. This ambitious project will be implemented by a team of3 PhD students, 1 post-doc, and 3 professors. This current offer focuses on improving the general understanding of the interactions between gas, liquid,and solid at high temperature (from 1000 to 1700°C) with special focus on (1) the influence of the gas atmosphere in case of liquid phase sintering of WC-Co hardmetals and TiCN-Ni cermets and (2) the in-situ characterization of the capillary rise of alloys like Cu in solid ceramic or metallic lattices (WC-Co).

This vacancy offers a 48-month PhD position focusing on the development of different and original strategies to improve the fundamental understanding of the interfacial phenomena controlling liquid phase sintering and liquid metal infiltration. The interrelationship between wetting characteristics of liquid metal infiltrated metal/ceramic structures and final thermal and mechanical material properties will be investigated. Porous materials with tailored pore structures will be fabricated using a novel selective powder deposition technique, followed by a solid state sintering and subsequent liquid metal infiltration process. Wetting studies will be performed using the Thermo-Optical Dynamic Wetting Apparatus (https://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/equipment/surfaces-interfaces-analysis/TODWA/thermo-optical-dynamic-wetting-apparatus) located in the Department of Materials Engineering of the KU Leuven (www.mtm.kuleuven.be). The project will be structured in the following mains phases:

  • Fabrication of porous structures with tailored porosity and porosity gradients
  • Interface design by surface modification of the porous network
  • Liquidmetal infiltration in porous metal/ceramic structures
  • Characterization of the dynamic spreading process and capillary rise dynamics of liquid Cu and Cu-alloys onto and into solid metals and ceramics using high temperature optical wetting apparatus, tensiometers, rheometers, and confocal microscopes,see https://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/equipment
  • Microstructural characterization of the solidified interfaces via SEM, EDS, EPMA, TEM, etc.


  • Candidates should have recently obtained a Master’s degree in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science or Materials Engineering with outstanding grades.
  • Candidates should have a strong experimental and theoretical background in at least one of the following topics: metallurgy,  surface science, wetting, and adhesion.
  • Desirable: programming experience e.g. Python, Matlab, or other coding languages.
  • Language skills: ENGLISH: Excellent; DUTCH: of advantage for the interaction within the University, however not required.
  • Candidates have to be hard working, enthusiastic and intelligent with a strong interest in understanding the fundamentals of materials behavior, as well as its implications for engineering applications.
  • You have a talent for conceiving advanced experimental set-ups and can realize them in a target-oriented manner.


This vacancy offers a PhD of KU Leuven, an international environment,guidance by leading scientists, and competitive fellowship, social security,and other benefits. The successful candidate will be part of a team of 3 PhD students, 1 post-doc, and 3 professors, work with state-of-the-art equipment,and receive an attractive salary in accordance with the KU Leuven regulations.

Department of Materials Engineering - Research Groups


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. David Seveno, tel.:+32 16 32 12 58, mail: david.seveno@kuleuven.be.

Applications must contain:

• An up-to-date CV, detailing work experience and research and academic achievements

• A cover letter exposing the candidate motivation for the fellowship

• At least two reference letters from a (former) supervisor, professor ora manager with contact information.

• Scanned copy of the degree (usually the master’s degree) which would formally entitle the candidate to embark on a doctorate. If the degree has not been obtained yet, the applicant will have to ensure that the date of graduation will be earlier than the start date of the  PhD.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Informatie over de vacature

Interfacial reactions and wetting behavior of liquid metals for liquid metal infiltration applications
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, België
Uiterste sollicitatiedatum
2024-02-29 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-02-29 23:59 (CET)
Soort functie
Baan opslaan

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Over de werkgever

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

De pagina van de werkgever bekijken