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Postdoc position: modeling friction across scales in Zürich

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


80%-100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Chair of Computational Mechanics of Building Materials in the Institute for Building Materials at ETH Zurich has an opening for a postdoctoral researcher in computational modeling for friction across scales.

Project background

The Chair of Computational Mechanics of Building Materials conducts research at the interface between mechanics, materials and scientific computing. Research activities are focused on modeling the link between micro- to meso-scale properties of engineering and biological materials and their macroscale mechanical performance. Various failure mechanisms, such as dynamic fracture and the onset of frictional sliding are at the center of our interests. The overall objectives are the development of numerical models in a high-performance computing framework, and their application in establishing a fundamental understanding of multiscale material mechanics.

Job description

The postdoc position will focus on the nano/micro-scale origins of friction and its link to macroscale observations covering multiple length and time scales. The research will be guided by questions such as: What are the effects of local randomness on macroscopic friction? Can we tailor surfaces for desired frictional properties? What are the nanoscale properties that determine macroscale stability? Can we predict the frictional strength with artificial intelligence? The research outcome is expected to advance our understanding of friction and its contributions to various applications including nano-technology, engineering mechanics and geophysical phenomena (glaciers, earthquakes, etc.). The candidate will develop numerical and theoretical models to study fundamental aspects related to these questions. This postdoc position provides opportunities to co-lead a research project on modeling friction, co-supervise graduate students, establish and lead collaborations with research partners, and to develop new ideas.

The position is available with starting dates as soon as possible.

Your profile

The successful candidate will hold a PhD in mechanics, physics, geophysics, material science or a related discipline. The candidate should have a strong background in computational modeling with discrete or continuum methods for solid mechanics. Expertise in theoretical fracture mechanics or friction/tribology as well as substantial programming experience are desired. Additionally, excellent communication skills in English (oral and written) are required.

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.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • CV including a list of publications
  • Brief statement of research interests
  • Name and contact details of two references

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Institute for Building Materials can be found on our website . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. David Kammer by email dkammer@ethz.ch (no applications).

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