Pore network characterisation of real building materials
Last modification : Sunday, January 9, 2022
You will become a PhD student in the Building Physics Section of the
Department of Civil Engineering at KU Leuven. The Building Physics section
currently consists of 4 faculty members and some 15 doctoral and postdoctoral
researchers. The section's research targets heat and mass transfer in porous
building materials, durability of (highly insulated) building components,
and the energy consumption and indoor air quality in buildings. The PhD
project is most closely related to the first topic, heat and mass transfer in
porous building materials, and is hence supervised by professor Hans Janssen.
The transfers of heat and moisture in porous building materials play a
critical role in the health and comfort of building occupants and the
durability and sustainability of built structures. Just one example is
corrosion of concrete reinforcement bars due to chloride invasion with the
pore water. Any analysis and design of built structures thus requires
knowledge of the hygrothermal properties of the building materials involved,
like the thermal conductivity, thewater absorption coefficient, … Such
properties strongly depend on the pore structure of the material and much
research at the Building Physics section is oriented towards that relation
between the material's properties and the material's microstructure. Two of
our past PhD students have been working on pore-scale modelling of these heat
and moisture transfer properties of porous materials, where prediction of the
macroscopic property of the material based on the microscopic storage and
transport processes in the pores was accomplished.
Their work can only be applied to real building materials if we can properly
image and characterise the pore structures of these building materials, and
this project is thus very important in that larger framework. Most building
materials have pores ranging from nano- to millimeter, and all these scales
are important for the hygrothermal behaviour of the materials. Therefore, the
complete imaging and reconstruction of pore structures of building materials,
from nano- to millimeter, is the target of this PhD project. To that aim,
firstly a multiscale imaging of the material's pore structure is to be
obtained,via 2D (e.g. broad-ion beam scanning electron microscopy, focused
ion-beam serial cross-sectioning) and 3D (e.g. computed x-ray tomography)
imaging techniques. Secondly, these multiscale and multidimensional images are
to be integrated to reconstruct the pore structure of the material in its full
completeness and complexity, for which several approaches are to be compared
in relation to efficiency and accuracy.
This project focuses on the experimental imaging and the numerical
reconstruction of the pore structures of building materials. Your research
experience should hence involve experimental and numerical work in relation to
porous media. Independence and initiative, reliability in team work and good
communication skills are similarly valuable. Finally, a suitable knowledge of
spoken and written English is strongly required.
The project start is intended for the spring or summer of 2022. In your
motivation letter, you should clearly state when you could start. You can
apply while currently being a MSc student, but you have to have obtained your
MSc degree before the date of appointment. When elaborating your ‘study
curriculum with rankings' in your CV, please make sure to include a concise
explanation of how course grades are generally given and how specific grades
should be interpreted. In your CV, suggest two or three reference persons, and
include their contact details (email and telephone number).
A 4-year PhD position.
For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Hans Janssen, tel.: +32 16
32 13 26, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If
you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us