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  3. PhD: Experimental study of propeller-wing interactions in propulsive and regenerative modes

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PhD: Experimental study of propeller-wing interactions in propulsive and regenerative modes

Today’s rapid growth of air traffic puts increasing pressure on the environment, both in terms of climate change and noise hindrance. Electrification of …

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Kluyverweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


Today’s rapid growth of air traffic puts increasing pressure on the environment, both in terms of climate change and noise hindrance. Electrification of aircraft can provide the necessary breakthrough to reduce this pressure. Despite the lower energy density of batteries compared to jet fuels, the increased design freedom inherent to aircraft designs with electric propulsion offers potential integration benefits that can be exploited to improve performance. Moreover, the electric architecture offers additional benefits such as for example energy regeneration during flight (similar to regenerative braking on electric cars).

This PhD project focuses on the isolated and installed performance of propellers used in both propulsive and regenerative modes, in terms of aerodynamic efficiency, noise emissions, and structural vibrations. Since the blade loading in regenerative mode will be opposite to that in conventional propulsive mode, the propeller-wing interaction will change drastically compared to the well-studied phenomena occurring in propulsive mode. The fundamental scientific challenge is to understand the boundary-layer development on the downstream wing in the presence of strong propeller-induced pressure gradients and vorticity. Understanding of the physical phenomena will be used to investigate the optimal integration of the regenerative propellers with the airframe.

The research will be done with experimental methods, using TU Delft’s low-speed wind tunnels and an external industrial-grade facility. The work includes the design of experimental models used for the research, execution of wind-tunnel experiments, in-depth analysis of experimental data, and dissemination of the results. Moreover, the experimental data will be used by the candidate to increase the fidelity of numerical models, following a digital-twin approach. The work will be performed in the context of a large EU-funded project on hybrid-electric aircraft, and in collaboration with a colleague PhD candidate in the same project who will analyse regenerative propulsion with high-fidelity numerical tools. Besides the research activities, the PhD candidate will join the TU Delft Graduate School to increase disciplinary competences and be trained in transferable and research skills.


The candidate should have an MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering from a well-established university, or an MSc degree in related engineering disciplines such as applied physics, applied mathematics, or mechanical engineering with a proven experience (courses, projects, work experience) in the field of aerospace engineering. A combination of good mathematical/analytical skills and a strong interest in performing experimental research is required. Proven experience with experimental aeronautical research and related data processing is advantageous for this position. Since an important part of research work is dissemination and collaboration, fluent communication skills in English, both written and orally, are of utmost importance. Female scientists are particularly encouraged to apply. A strict equal opportunity, gender-neutral recruitment procedure is implemented.     


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. You will have 232 hours of paid leave each year and in addition to your salary, at TU Delft you will receive an annual holiday allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of your salary. 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 www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr.ir. T. Sinnige, phone: +31 (0)15-2789550, e-mail: T.Sinnige@tudelft.nl.