PhD: Modelling Bearing Steels for Wind Turbine Applications – Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands

////PhD: Modelling Bearing Steels for Wind Turbine Applications – Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands


The case-carburized bearing versions have in the recent past shown premature failures in the form of Irregular White Etching Cracks (IrWEC). The performance of the bearings was falling short in terms of bearing life. This situation has led to an intensive investigation of many bearings and potential failure mechanisms were identified. Much effort was also given to finding the relation between failures and the steel processing routes. Until now, it has not been possible to quantify the effect of various upstream process parameters, such as ingot size and form, reduction ratio, density and type of non-metallic micro-inclusions, as well as thermal treatments, on the essential aspects of the (non-uniform) microstructure that affects the material performance so strongly. Therefore, it is proposed to perform a research project in this area with two work packages, carried out by two Ph.D. students, in order to find the relation between performance and the steel processing routes.


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 (MSE) of Delft University of Technology 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 optimising sustainable use of resources and minimising the environmental footprint.

The Microstructure section of the MSE Department, with three senior scientists and some 15 PhD students and post-docs, has a leading position worldwide in the field of microstructure control, based on both experimental characterisation and physical modelling. For more information, see


Large case-carburised steel bearings in wind turbines show premature failure in the form of irregular white etching cracks. To control and prevent failure, the aim is to establish the relation between failure and steel processing routes: (1) experimental characterisation of new and used bearings, for identification of the decisive microstructural features in relation to failure; (2) model development to quantitatively relate the processing conditions to the microstructure of case-carburising steels and the microstructure to the performance. Both will lead to a quantitative description of the effects of processing parameters on microstructural parameters and (local) material performance in rolling contact fatigue of case-carburised steel to counteract premature failure of large bearings.


Candidates should hold an MSc degree in physics, metallurgy, or materials science. They must also have knowledge of physics and microstructures of metals. We are still looking for a candidate for project 2, for which knowledge and experience with model development is required. Candidates should have:

  • an affinity for industry-related fundamental research,
  • an academic attitude with excellent analytical skills, initiative, inventiveness, curiosity, and critical thinking.
  • strong communication skills (high English proficiency), ability to integrate, 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.


For more information about this position, please contact Prof. Jilt Sietsma, E:

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.


To apply, please submit:

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

Please apply by September 28th 2018

2018-08-16T22:04:52+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|