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PhD; Shaping turbulence with smart particles: experiments with magnetic beads

PhD; Shaping turbulence with smart particles: experiments with magnetic beads

Applied Physics
Graduate Program(s)
Applied Physics



Can we design turbulence? Turbulence is everywhere and yet our fundamental understanding and capabilities to control it remain limited. It is a remarkable property of turbulence that, rather irrespectively of the large-scale forcing mechanism, it rapidly tends to restore a universal (homogeneous and isotropic) state at smaller scales. This tendency to universality severely hinders our capability to modulate turbulence by acting on few (large-scale) degrees of freedom. To address such questions a large research program has been set up to investigate the possibility to shape turbulence with particles. This program will enter an unexplored terrain and design non-universal turbulence employing “smart” particles (either chiral, magnetic or with both properties) capable of applying appropriate small-scale forcing. The particles will be designed to interact with helicity and small-scale structures, thus touching turbulence at its own core. It will moreover shed light on the physics of complex-shaped particles dispersed in turbulent flows as occurring in nature, take e.g. pollen, plant seeds, fish, bacteria, algae, phytoplankton or sediments. Deeper understanding of these systems will open up the way to technological applications.

Project description

In this project, the PhD candidate will investigate experimentally the role of magnetic particles in turbulence at low and high densities with the possibility to steer the turbulence via external (time-dependent) magnetic fields. An experimental setup for the generation of homogeneous isotropic turbulence (French washing machine) will be designed. It should satisfy certain constraints such as optical access for Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and 3D Particle Tracking Velocimetry (3D PTV) applications and facilities for the production of magnetic fields to control the dynamics of the particles. Measurement of magnetic particle aggregates as well as the statistics of turbulence will be made possible as function of turbulence and magnetic field strength. Typical size of the magnetic beads will be similar to the dissipative scale of turbulence and aggregates can form strings as long as the integral scale. Strong interaction and exchange of data with parallel PhD projects on chiral particles in turbulence and numerical studies of such systems is anticipated.


This subproject will be carried out within the Fluids and Flows group at the Department of Applied Physics ( of Eindhoven University of Technology. The PhD candidate will be supervised by prof. H.J.H. Clercx, prof. F. Toschi and dr. R.P.J. Kunnen. This project is part of a larger NWO-Groot program in collaboration with University of Twente that encompasses also international partners. 


We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD-student with an excellent background in fluid dynamics and turbulence, and a strong affinity with experimental measurement techniques. You have an MSc in (applied) physics or mechanical engineering. As an ideal candidate you should be able to work in a team. You also have good written and oral communication skills in English.


  • 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 starting July 1st, 2021, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary of € 2395 (first year) and € 3061 (in the last year). The salary is in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities.
  • Benefits 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.
  • 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.

Informatie en sollicitatie

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
prof. H.J.H. (Herman) Clercx, h.j.h.clercx[at] and dr. R.P.J. (Rudie) Kunnen, r.p.j.kunnen[at], Department of Applied Physics, group Fluids and Flows,

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

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We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a grade list and names and contact details of at least one senior scientist able and willing to provide references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. We aim for a starting date of July 1st , 2021 at the latest. Screening of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

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