Postdoc Numerical Modeling of Sedimen, Nodules and Water Flows in Deep Sea Mining

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Postdoc Numerical Modeling of Sedimen, Nodules and Water Flows in Deep Sea Mining

Depletion of strategic mineral resources on land has sparked renewed interest in exploitation of deep-sea mineral deposits such as polymetallic nodules, phosphate nodules, seafloor massive sulphides and cobalt-rich crusts. The extraction of these deposits from the seabed is expected to have animpact on local ecosystems in the mined area, as it involves removal or overturning of the top layer of the seabed over large areas, potentially impacting ecosystems by plumes of suspended sediment over an area that might be larger than the mining site.
The Blue Harvesting project focuses on the development and improvement of a hydraulic nodule collector, while reducing its environmental impact. Part of the approach is to lower the intake of water, while mainting an efficient process to hydraulically pick up nodules and to separate the nodules from the sediment. The valuable nodules will then be transported to the surface while most of the sediment should remain close to the seafloor.  Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) will be used to predict the nodule pick-up and nodule separation processes, while lowering the intake of clean water. Full scale experiments on collector and separator are conducted. The results of these experiments are used to validate the CFD models. Based on these results, the postdoc will implement improvements on the system design, further enhancing the separation performance and discharge conditinos. The Postdoc will work in close collaboration with a PhD on the initial spreading of the sediment plume. The outcome of this study will help to optimize the design of the hydraulic nodule collector, while leading to lower environmental pressures caused by the mining operation.

The Department of Maritime and Transport Technology (MTT) studies how to develop, design, build and operate marine, dredging and transport systems and their equipment. New generation transport and marine systems require the further development of the knowledge of the dynamics and the physical processes involved in transport, dredging and marine systems, the logistics of the systems and the interaction between the equipment and control systems.

Candidates must have a PhD degree in Fluid Dynamics, Mechanical, Dredging  Offshore or Maritime Engineering or a related field. A successful candidate needs to have:

  1. a thorough knowledge of fluid dynamics, multiphase flows, process engineering and non-Newtonian flow.
  2. has proven experience with computational fluid dynamics, scientific computing and experimental research.
  3. strong analytical skills and the ability to work independently, in close collaboration with a colleague and in a team.
  4. ability to explain research results to industrial/governmental partners, has scientific writing skills and masters English.

Conditions of employment
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (salary indication: €3.389-€4.274). The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. The contract duration is 18 months.

For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.

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. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers both in business and in a social context. TU Delft offers 16 Bachelor’s and 32 Master’s programmes to more than 23,000 students. Our scientific staff consists of 3,500 staff members and 2,800 PhD candidates. Together we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering.

Additional information
For information about this vacancy, you can contact Rudy Helmons, Assistant Professor Offshore and Dredging Engineering, email:, tel: +31(0)152784746.

Application procedure
Submit your letter of application along with a detailed curriculum vitae, a motivation why the proposed research topic interests you, a list of publications, (electronic) copies of your three most relevant journal or conference publications, the abstract and/or summary of your PhD thesis, your MSc course program and the corresponding grades, names and addresses of three reference persons, and all other information that might be relevant to your application to Dr. Rudy Helmons (email: The application deadline for the position is 1 July 2020.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the application procedure.

Job Info
Delft, Zuid-Holland, NL

Awards and Support

  • Solar Impulse
  • iMec
  • Voxdale
  • Professional MotorSport World Awards – MotorSport Technology of the Year

Code contributions by

  • KU Leuven
  • Inholland
  • Linkoping University