PhD student “Thermo-hydro mechanical modeling for cascading mass movements” 100% (f/m/d)

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
February 11, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF

The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF is part of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and thus of the ETH Domain. WSL focuses on the sustainable use and protection of the environment and on the handling of natural hazards. WSL employs approximately 600 people, of whom 140 work at SLF in Davos.

The Chair of Alpine Mass Movements is part of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (D-BAUG) at ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. We develop numerical models and experimental facilities to better understand the initiation and dynamics of alpine mass movements such as snow avalanches, debris flows and rockfalls. Our research contributes to improve risk assessment and management procedures related to gravitational mass movements in alpine regions and mitigate their impacts. We are looking for a

PhD student “Thermo-hydro mechanical modeling for cascading mass movements” 100% (f/m/d)

Instabilities in glaciers and rock walls can trigger complex process chains involving rock, ice and snow avalanches and outburst floods. Global warming could contribute to an increase in the frequency and magnitude of such catastrophic events. Their anticipation is thus of utmost importance to evaluate the resilience of existing protection procedures and define adaptation strategies. In modeling, one major difficulty is the combined numerical description of multi-phase interactions, heat transfer, phase changes, mixing and pore-pressure induced liquefaction during the flow. In this PhD work, you develop a multi-phase thermo-hydromechanical material point method (MPM) for alpine mass movements and cascading processes. In a first step, you implement of a two-phase hydromechanical MPM in which conservation equations of solid and fluid phases are considered, together with momentum exchange terms and classical constitutive laws. Then, a heat energy balance equation will be introduced including friction heat dissipation and phase changes. The model will be evaluated based on benchmark tests and then applied to real-case scenarios. You will publish your results in high-ranked scientific journals, present them at international conferences and contribute to teaching at ETH Zurich.

You hold a MSc degree in Computational Mechanics / Computational Science and Engineering / Applied Mathematics or a related field. You have experience in using and developing numerical models. Ideally, you bring some skills in soil mechanics and natural hazards applications. We encourage applications from enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who have very good oral and written communication skills in English. German or French knowledge is beneficial. You are motivated to work in an interdisciplinary and international working environment and you would enjoy living in a beautiful and varied mountain environment.

Please send your complete application to Clemens Güdel, Human Resources SLF, by uploading the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered. Prof. Johan Gaume, e-mail [email protected], will be happy to answer any questions or offer further information. The WSL strives to increase the proportion of women in its employment, which is why qualified women are particularly called upon to apply for this position.

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