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PhD on Materials in heat batteries

PhD on Materials in heat batteries

PhD position on Materials in heat batteries: the impact of multiple (de)hydration transitions.
Applied Physics and Science Education
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Job description

Heat batteries / Fifty percent of our daily energy usage is in the form of thermal energy.  In view of the energy challenges ahead of us, compact heat storage offers opportunities to bridge the mismatch between supply and demand of energy. Inorganic crystal hydrates have the potential to be used as storage media in heat batteries. Discharge happens via hydration reactions involving a phase transition of the crystal lattice due to water incorporation.

Challenge / A heat battery consists of a packed bed of millimeter-sized salt hydrate tablets. The challenge is to stabilize beds of these tablets as they significantly swell over multiple hydration-dehydration cycles.

Project aim and description / That salt hydrate particles irreversibly swell over multiple hydration/dehydration cycles is known. However, the physics of this process is poorly understood. This lack of understanding hampers the progress in finding solutions for this problem. It will be your task to elucidate the physical mechanisms of swelling via experimenting, to identify dopants that reduce the swelling, and to model the processes. In your work you will couple atomistic scale processes at crystal surfaces with potential consequences on the swelling behavior of millimeter sized salt particles. Techniques like EIS (Impedance Spectroscopy), TGA-DSC and NMR-relaxometry will be at the heart of your activities.

Our offer / We offer a 4 year PhD position a team of several PhD’s all working on understanding and modifying materials suitable for heat storage. Your work is embedded in a cooperation of Eindhoven University of Technology TU/e– Department of Applied Physics, The Netherlands Organization of Applied Scientific Research TNO and Cellcius B.V. Cellcius is the first spin-off company of both organizations that aims to bring breakthrough technology based on salt hydrates to the market. You will work with and get support from Cellcius technical staff dedicated to the project.

Working location / You will mostly work in the lab of the TPM (Transport in Permeable Media) of the Eindhoven University of Technology (, but will also have access to the labs of TNO and Cellcius. In TPM you will collaborate with 6 PhD’s and postdoc, working on several aspects of thermochemical materials based on salt hydrates. The TNO labs offer a wide variety of chemical synthesis and characterization options. TPM has EIS, XRD, extensive TGA-DSC facilities, NMR imaging tools and good access to SEM.

Job requirements

  • Do you have a MSc degree in physics or physical-chemistry?
  • Do you have experience with non-standard and advanced experimental techniques?
  • Do you have good programming skills (Matlab, C, C++)?
  • Do you dream of contributing to the energy transition?
  • Do you want to connect challenging science to the dynamic environment of a start-up?

If so, you are the right candidate for this position.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility’, which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information and application

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
dr. H.P. Huinink (h.p.huinink[at], , +31 40 2475375).

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact HRServices.Flux[at]

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  • cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • curriculum vitae, including a statement of research interests
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