The Chair of Building Physics of ETH Zurich is performing multiscale research on the interaction of moisture with porous materials. In collaboration with the Laboratory of Multiscale Studies in Building Physics of Empa, we are recruiting a
PhD student on “Molecular dynamics investigation of hygromechanical behavior of new and aged linen for understanding the behavior of canvas paintings”
We are looking for a highly skilled and motivated candidate that will investigate, by Molecular Dynamics (MD), the moisture behavior of new and aged linen, which is used in canvas painting. Linen is a textile made of flax plant fibers, that are spun together in yarns and then woven. Linen canvas is used as a support for oil painting for more than five centuries. In the long-term degradation of linen textile, photochemical reactions are dominant and result in a decrease of degree of polymerization. Old paintings offer reliably-dated linen sources to analyze this aging process. Understanding the role of moisture on this new or aged material is achieved through atomistic simulations, informed and validated with experiments. In particular, transport, sorption, dimensional stability and mechanical properties are studied at the cell wall level. The problem has a multiscale nature, so an existent multiscale frame using MD, upscaling with poromechanics and continuum models, is to be used, with fiber, yarn, canvas and oil-painted canvas as the different systems to be modeled.
The candidate should be a responsible and communicative scientist with a master degree in mechanical, civil or material engineering, physics, materials science, or similar field. Optimally, the candidate should have strong background in mechanics of materials and computer simulation. A good background in computer programming with good knowledge of BASH or Python is advantageous. The candidate should be proficient in English.
We look forward to receiving your online application including a cover letter, a comprehensive CV in-cluding publications and presentations, diplomas and a list of courses attended and the names and contact information of three references. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information about the Chair of Building Physics, please visit our website Questions regarding about this position should be directed to Dr. Dominique Derome by email dominique.derome(at) (no applications).