PhD Position Effect of Defects in Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing

PhD Effect of Defects in Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing Challenge: Defects lead to repair/rejection of part Change: Manufacturing data quantifying defects Impact: Reduce unnecessary composite waste
  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


As a Ph.D. researcher, you will spearhead a critical investigation into the effects of manufacturing defects within the spar cap/shear web assembly—the backbone of wind turbine blades. Your work will address the inherent challenges posed by defects such as fiber misalignment, porosities, and uneven cure, which jeopardize the structural integrity and longevity of the blades.

To understand where the defects come from and what their effect is on the structural performance, your research will focus on:

  • Defect Analysis: Explore defects in adhesive thickness, curing processes, and debonding/delaminations within the spar cap/shear web assembly.
  • Specimen Creation: Develop specimens with and without introduced defects, meticulously documenting type, dimension, amount, and position for comprehensive analysis.
  • Material Characterization: Investigate the origin and frequency of defects through rigorous material characterization, considering the stochastic nature of the materials involved.
  • Inspection Techniques: Utilize advanced inspection techniques to examine specimens, gaining insights into the limitations of these methods for defect detection (in collaboration with other researchers on the project).
  • Experimental Testing: Conduct extensive structural testing on specimens, interpreting results to comprehend the implications of defects on the structural behaviour of the material.
  • FEA Modelling: Employ Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to model defects, offering a structural-level understanding of the impact of defect location, size, and type.

Manufacturing defects in wind turbine blades lead to expensive repairs, material waste, and compromise structural integrity. Your research will pave the way for:

  • Quality Control Measures: Implement robust quality control measures to detect and address defects, minimizing waste and associated costs.
  • Structural Understanding: Gain insights into defects from a structural perspective, crucial for producing zero-defect products, you will be able to answer whether a defect is still allowed from a structural point of view and can therefore be characterized as a zero-defect product.
  • Automation Techniques: Develop methods to automate manufacturing processes, reducing the risk of human errors.

Join a collaborative and innovative team, working alongside industry experts and utilising cutting-edge technologies. This position offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the future of renewable energy and make a lasting impact, by ensuring efficient and flawless wind turbine blade production.

This position is part of the Efficient & Proven Zero-Defect Robotic Manufacturing Project, where in collaboration with industry leaders, we're dedicated to reshaping the landscape of wind energy and aerospace through innovative solutions. The position will be jointly supervised by Dr. Julie Teuwen and Dr. Dimitrios Zarouchas.


Skills and requirements for potential PhD candidates:

  • Driven, enthusiastic and independent thinker.
  • Strong analytical and research skills.
  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in aerospace engineering, production or mechanical engineering, or a related subject.
  • An affinity to experimental work relating to adhesive bonding, resin infusion techniques, structural testing is preferred.
  • A good understanding of and experience with finite element analysis principles is advantageous.
  • Ability to work in a project team and take responsibility for own research goals
  • The candidate is expected to publish work of high scientific quality and participate in international conferences.
  • For this position, a knowledge embargo may be necessary, the candidate should be able to obtain one before the contract can be officially signed if necessary.
  • The candidate should have a very good command of English language, in direct communication as well as writing skills and should enjoy working in an interdisciplinary environment.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.


Challenge. Change. Impact!


Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Meer informatie

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Julie Teuwen, Associate professor, email:

For information about the selection procedure, please contact the ASM secretary team, email: secr-ASM-LR