PhD position in Rock Deformation (4 years)

Utrecht University
June 19 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Department of Earth Sciences currently seeks a highly-motivated, high-potential applicant for a position as a PhD researcher in rock deformation at the High Pressure and Temperature Laboratory.

The project title is ‘Quantifying the role of coupled solution transfer and frictional/brittle processes in controlling the rheological, transport and containment properties of rocksalt'. The aim of this likely 4-year PhD project is to develop quantitative, mechanism-based models describing the rheological behaviour, transport properties and containment capacity of rocksalt in the regime where fluid-assisted microcracking and crack healing/sealing compete, and where pressure solution and sintering (neck growth) effects compete with frictional granular flow. The approach adopted will involve experimental deformation, permeametry and electrical conductivity work, as well as comparison of the data produced with microphysical theory.  The results obtained will be directly relevant to predicting the stability and containment capacity of solution-mined energy-storage caverns in rocksalt, the flow properties of granular salt products and the behaviour of crustal rock and fault systems under hydrothermal and geothermal conditions.

The project is already funded by the ITN CREEP programme with an excellent chance of obtaining additional funding from complementary sources, thus constituting a 4-year PhD position. It includes a research visit to University College London to work on acoustic monitoring of microcrack damage during creep of wet rocksalt, plus a 3-6 months internship in AkzoNobel's salt mining division. Up to 10 percent of the candidate's time will be dedicated to assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the department. A personalized training program, mutually agreed on recruitment, which will reflect the candidate's training needs and career objectives.

We seek a highly motivated candidate with the following requirements:

  • Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment.

  • Applicants must be in the first four years of their research career and not have a PhD degree. Time is measured from the date of award of the Master degree (official maternity/paternity leave excluded).

  • Applicants must hold a Master degree in geosciences, physics, or materials science, and must have good quantitative and programming skills as well as an interest in chemistry.

  • Applicants must have experience of Earth materials research, ideally in rock or materials mechanics or in rock physics

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English skills and be highly motivated to work in an international team.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess