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PhD position: steel corrosion in porous media in Zürich

Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.


100%, Zurich, fixed-term

PhD position on "steel corrosion in porous media" at the Institute for Building Materials (IfB) – Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering – at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. In collaboration with Oregon State University (U.S.), Imperial College (UK), and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Likely starting date: fall 2021.

Project background

Recent insight into the mechanism of corrosion of metals in porous media exposed to variable moisture states offers opportunities for enhancing the knowledge-based design of sustainable engineered systems, such as reinforced concrete. However, important scientific questions related to the corrosion mechanism and kinetics of steel embedded in the complex cementitious matrix remain. These will be addressed in this project.

Job description

The aim of this project is to fundamentally study the corrosion kinetics in carbonated concrete. A systematic approach will be followed, addressing the following influencing factors on the corrosion kinetics of steel in concrete: i) the concrete pore solution chemistry, ii) the pore structure of the interfacial concrete, iii) the moisture state of the concrete. The project will be primarily of experimental nature and involve techniques from corrosion science, electrochemistry, and concrete technology. The work will closely interface with other projects, in particular a PhD project on the microstructural characterization of carbonated concretes (at Imperial College, London, UK and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) as well as ongoing work at ETH Zurich on the numerical modeling of corrosion and mass transport processes in carbonated concrete.

The project will be performed in the research group of Prof. Dr. Ueli Angst at the Institute for Building Materials (D-BAUG) at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. An extended scientific visit to Prof. Dr. Burkan Isgor (Oregon State University, U.S.) is planned. The project is fully financed for 4 years, including a salary according to the employment conditions of ETH Zurich.

Your profile

Successful applicants should hold a MSc degree preferably in corrosion science, materials science, civil engineering or related areas. Previous experience and knowledge in corrosion is needed, and the candidate is expected to show a strong interest in cement and concrete science as well as microstructural characterization. Proficiency in written and oral English as well as maturity and self-motivation are necessary. Above all, candidates should be curious and enthusiastic in what they do.

ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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