Development of bio-metamaterial with optimized thermal and acoustic
Last modification : Friday, August 19, 2022
This interdisciplinary research is hosted by the Laboratory of Acoustics in
the Soft Matter and Biophysics Unit of the Department of Physics and Astronomy
(Prof. Christ Glorieux) and Faculty of Architecture at KU Leuven (Prof.
Rachel Armstrong), and will be done in close collaboration with and exchange
visits to the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the
University of Brescia in Italy (Prof. Edoardo Piana).
This PhD focuses on the development of novel bio-metamaterial with optimized
thermal and acoustic properties by combining biological materials with
acoustic metamaterials, and fits in the framework of the ACTAREBUILD EU - DN -
Mycelium biocomposites are novel materials with an increasingly important role
in the transition to renewable building processes. Mycelium is the vegetative
part of the fungus that can cement particulate organic materials and can be
formed into any shape if grown in a mould, or even 3D printed as a paste.
Increasingly they are available for use in indoor architectural contexts owing
to their acoustic/insulative properties, superior fire safety and minimal
environmental impact. While mycelium biocomposites have been generally
characterized for their thermal and acoustic effects, this project looks at
these qualities with respect to a range of different agricultural wastes,
fungal types, degrees of attenuation and tile geometries, to gain specific
insights into how these factors influence their performance for applications
in retrofit and indoor architectural contexts.
New generation biomaterials will be grown from biological waste and will be
screened for their suitability to serve as the sound absorbers, both in
homogeneous slabs and composite metamaterial structures. The sound absorption
will be measured by different approaches and its frequency dependence will be
modeled. In turn, the physics insight given by the models will be exploited to
further enhance the sound absorption throughout the whole audible spectrum.
Also the thermal isolation characteristics will be determined. In view of
sustainable development, the new materials and structures will also be subject
to an investigation of their durability, compatibility for recycling,
nontoxicity, energetic and financial production cost, and ecological
This research will involve handling biological materials in general and making
mycelium biocomposites in particular, designing structures, performing
acoustic and thermal measurements, analyzing data, developing mathematical
models, 3D printing using a variety of materials, making objects with high
fidelity, and functioning in an interdisciplinary team to assess the
sustainability of the innovative solutions.
If you recognize yourself in the story below, then you have the profile that
fits the project and the research group.
I have a master degree in physics or engineering.
I do not yet have a PhD
I am proficient in written and spoken English, and write and communicate
clearly in an interdisciplinary environment
I am adept at learning new concepts, skills and tasks and have a problem-
solving approach to complex challenges
During my courses or prior professional activities, I have gathered
experience with acoustic testing, control, data-acquisition, numerical
simulations and mathematical modeling and I have a profound interest in
As PhD researcher at KU Leuven I perform research in a structured and
scientifically sound manner. I read technical papers, understand the
nuances between different theories and implement and improve methodologies
I work goal-oriented and have a getting-things-done attitude, always with
In frequent reporting, varying between weekly to monthly, I show the
results that I have obtained and I give a well-founded interpretation of
those results. I iterate on my work and my approach based on the feedback
of my supervisors which steer the direction of my research.
I feel comfortable working as a team member and I am eager to share my
results to inspire my colleagues and be inspired by them.
I value being part of a project that aims at finding sustainable solutions
in the domain of building applications and I am eager to learn how
academic research can be linked to industrial innovation roadmaps.
During my PhD I want to grow towards following up the project that I am
involved in and representing the research group on project meetings or
conferences. I see these events as an occasion to disseminate my work to
an audience of international experts and research colleagues, and to learn
about the larger context of my research and the research project.
During the past 3 years I have not resided, studied or worked in Belgium
for more than 12 months.
A remuneration package in line with Marie Sklodowska Curie Doctoral
Network regulations, which is competitive with industry standards in
Belgium, a country with a high quality of life and excellent health care
The researcher allowances granted by Europe will cover all (employer's
and employee's) taxes and contributions; the exact (net) salary will be
confirmed upon appointment.
An opportunity to pursue a PhD in Science, in a stimulating and ambitious
research environment, with 3 years funding within the ACTAREBUILD ITN
An opportunity to work within a challenging European research project with
leading industry players across Europe.
A stay in a vibrant environment in the hearth of Europe. The university is
located in Leuven, a town of approximately 100000 inhabitants, located
close to Brussels (25km), and 20 minutes by train from Brussels
International Airport. This strategic positioning and the strong presence
of the university, international research centers, and industry, lead to a
safe town with high quality of life, welcome to non-Dutch speaking people
and with ample opportunities for social and sport activities. The mixture
of cultures and research fields are some of the ingredients making the KU
Leuven the most innovative university in Europe. Further information can
be found on the website of the university:
https: // www. kuleuven.be/english/living
Opportunity for research stay(s) in Italy (University of Brescia).
Brescia is a city of approximately 100000 inhabitants, located close to
Milan (90 km), and 60 minutes by bus from Bergamo International Airport.
This strategic positioning and the strong presence of industry, lead to a
safe town with high quality of life, welcome to non-Italian speaking
people and with ample opportunities for social and sport activities.
Further information on the Marie Curie Projects at UniBS can be found on
the website of the university:
https: // www. unibs.it/en/research/finanziamenti-la-ricerca/marie-
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Christ Glorieux, tel.: +32 16 32
72 01, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Prof. dr. Rachel Armstrong, tel.:
+32 2 308 27 56, mail: email@example.com.
Please mention ACTAREBUILDand REF nr. DC1 bio-metamaterial in the email
Applications in English should be submitted online and include:
Curriculum Vitae (including your contact address, work experience,
publications, as well as all other academic achievements)
Cover letter explaining your motivation
Transcript of all courses and grades for your Bachelor and Master program
A short description of your master's work (max 1 page)
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish,
regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If
you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us