PhD candidate: Trivalent Chromium Coating Technology in an Industrial Steel Strip Plating Process – Technical University of Delft (the Netherlands)

////PhD candidate: Trivalent Chromium Coating Technology in an Industrial Steel Strip Plating Process – Technical University of Delft (the Netherlands)


As packaging steel is relatively thin (i.e. heavily rolled) and nearly always coated it is a product with a high added value. Traditionally, protective chromium coatings on Electrolytic Chromium Coated Steel (ECCS) are applied by means of electroplating from an electrolyte based on hexavalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium is nowadays considered a hazardous substance that is potentially harmful to the environment and constitutes a risk in terms of worker safety. The use of hexavalent chromium will be restricted within Europe due to REACH legislation. Within Tata Steel R&D a replacement for ECCS has been developed based on trivalent chromium. The harmfulness of hexavalent chromium is attributed to its high oxidising potential and its easy permeation of biological membranes. In contrast, trivalent chromium is not known to be harmful to body tissue. Therefore, trivalent chromium plating is considered a benign technology to replace hexavalent chromium plating.


The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering undertakes coherent and innovative research dedicated to developing, producing, characterising, and manipulating materials, with a focus on metals. The aim is to develop fundamental understanding forming the basis for better performance and a longer life cycle with preservation of functionality, while at the same time optimizing sustainable use of resources and minimising the environmental footprint.

The ultimate research mission of the research group Corrosion Technology and Electrochemistry (CTE) is to gain fundamental knowledge of local corrosion processes and promote education and best practices in corrosion control for the socio-economic benefit of society, preservation of resources and protection of the environment. To this aim, one of the key research areas of CTE focuses on advanced and eco-friendly surface treatments of metals for enhanced corrosion performance and interfacial bonding of coatings. For more information:


The objective of this PhD candidate study is a fundamental understanding of the strip plating process of mixed chromium metal-carbide-oxide coatings from trivalent chromium based electrolytes. A study of the deposition process is very challenging due to its complexity and the many steps that happen both progressively and simultaneously. The time scale in industrial steel strip plating is typically a few seconds, so fast techniques need to be employed to study the chromium deposition process. To obtain fundamental insights in the deposition mechanism and its kinetics as a function of process parameters (electrolyte composition, current density, line speed) and their effects on coating chemistry, texture and morphology, advanced combined and in-situ electrochemical and surface analysis techniques are required. These techniques will allow to study the interplay between the process parameters and surface structure in more detail, and to derive the optimal process conditions to obtain robust and reliable chromium based coatings.


We are looking for MSc graduautes with a background in materials science, physics, chemistry or other related studies, with the following requirements:

  • proven experience or affinity with corrosion, surface treatment, electrochemical and/or surface analysis of metals and/or coatings
  • excellent analytical skills, initiative, inventiveness, curiosity, diligence, persistence and critical thinking;
  • ability to work with scientific and industrial partners;
  • strong communication skills (high English proficiency), team player, and good social behaviour.


The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.


Minds for Innovation is the recruitment partner for this project. For more information regarding recruitment please contact Jolanda de Roo. E:, T: + 316 572 913 50.

For more information about this specific project, please contact Prof. Arjan Mol,


To apply, please submit:

• a detailed CV
• proof of English language proficiency
• the abstract of your thesis (one page and if available)
• two references
• a letter of motivation in PDF file.

Please apply by September 30th

As one of the first selection steps, you will be invited to participate on our specialised online assessment. If you would like to know more about why we use this and how have set it up, then check out our website.

2018-09-25T07:31:02+00:00 September 9th, 2018|