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Inspection of aerospace structures by IR thermography and optical vibrometry

 KU Leuven  Leuven
In the Laboratory for Soft Matter and Biophysics we offer a 3-years research and training position in the field of non-destructive testing (NDT) of aircraft components, potentially leading to a Ph.D. degree. All research and training activities are part of the EU-funded International Trainings Network (ITN) “Training Network in Non-Destructive Testing and Structural Health Monitoring of Aircraft structures (NDTonAIR).

The research work will focus on the non-destructive testing (NDT) of aircraft components, potentially leading to a Ph.D. degree. The major research objectives are:
(I)           To extend and validate an optical vibrometry method for the detection of defects byexploiting cross-modulation effects caused by their nonlinear elastic behavior [1];
(II)          To develop an active thermography (STH) technique for the inspection of composite materials that uses simultaneously different heating sources associated a different physical phenomena, e.g. flash-STH, induction-STH and vibro-STH;
(III)         To compare the sensitivity of the two techniques on a range of different structures and defect types (natural cracks, delaminations) and evaluate their performances.
Non-linear optical vibrometry allows the detection of defects, such as closed defects, that do not cause reflection or mode conversion of acoustic waves; multi-physics TH should enhance the defect detection efficiency by naturally fusing information of various techniques. Both techniques are in a prototype stage and the long-term objective is to implement them on-field and to evaluate their POD.
For a set of 3 relevant structures, a metallic plate, a multidirectional CFRP plate, a slat track, an assessment will be delivered on the feasibility of laser Doppler scanning vibrometry, shearography, photorefractive interferometry and multiphysics stimulated thermography.The feasibility parameters (referenced to the state of the art) will be: the minimum size of defects detectable, the measurement time per inspected surface, the cost of a measurement setup, the specificity of detection of defects compared to other typically occurring factors that influence the signal. The use of multiple heating sources will be allowed by the use of coded signals excitation and pulse-compression procedure.
[1] Jichuan Xiong and Christ Glorieux, “Spectrally resolved detection of mixed acoustic vibrations by photorefractive interferometry”, J. Appl. Phys. 113, 054502 (2013)  
As the research topic is situated in the field of ultrasonics and related sensing applications, applicants are required to have an excellent proven background in related natural or engineering sciences, including profound knowledge on signal processing as well as on the respective hard- and software.
The work will be performed in the “Laboratory for Soft Matter and Biophysics” of the Department Physics and Astronomy, in the group of “Materials Performance and Non-destructive Testing” at the Department of Materials Engineering at KU Leuven, as well in the including short-term research and training stays at international project partners in Austria and Italy. As apart of an International Training Network (ITN) of the EU, candidates must prove to fulfil the respective eligibility criteria for this position: (i) not residing in Belgium for at least 24 months in the last 3 years, and (ii) having not more than 4 years of research experience (working as researcher after obtaining your master’s degree).

Master degree in one of the following field (or similar): Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Natural Sciences, ...
A strong interest for multidisciplinary research is required.
Communication skills: ability to work both independently and in a team.
Appropriate skills in English speaking and writing are mandatory.

The project offers funding for a 3-year program towards a Ph.D. at the KU Leuven within the Laboratory for Soft Matter and Biophysics.
KU Leuven offers an exciting multi-disciplinary research environment, a broad gamut of training courses for Ph.D. students, competitive salaries or scholarships and full social and medical insurance.

How to apply:
You can apply for this job no later than December 01, 2016 via the online application tool.
Send application to
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Christ Glorieux, tel.: +32 16 32 72 01 , mail: or Prof. dr. ir. Martine Wevers, tel.: +32 16 32 13 03 , mail:
While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: BAP-2016-541

About KU Leuven

KU Leuven is an ambitious, international and research-oriented university. Internally, the university tries to maintain a balance between the power of the big ship and the flotilla of small, mobile, independent vessels of which it is composed. KU Leuven is home to a lot of creative, young and academic talent. As a leading university in Europe, it is looking for staff who can think outside the box.

More about KU Leuven

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