PhD Position: Multiscale modeling of size effects in the fracture of soft solids

WorkplaceZurich, Zurich region, Switzerland


PhD Position: Multiscale modeling of size effects in the fracture of soft solids

The Laboratory of Soft and Living Materials at the Department of Materials is seeking a PhD candidate.

Job description

Owing to its scale-spanning nature from individual monomers to complex polymer networks, fracture in soft materials vastly differs from classical theories and requires accounting for the effects of nonlinearity, irreversibility, nonlocality and possibly multiple phases. As one consequence, strong size effects have recently been observed in the fracture of soft solids when descending to small scales. Experiments have indicated a transition in failure mechanisms and in the geometry of failure process zones, when decreasing the crack size below a characteristic length scale. The causal mechanisms - and, more generally, a fundamental understanding of fracture in soft solids across length scales - have remained widely unexplored but are key to fully exploiting novel classes of soft materials. The objective of this PhD project is to establish a new multiscale theory and associated numerical tools for a complete fundamental understanding of fracture in soft solids across length scales. This will be achieved through a bottom-up multiscale approach, taking crosslinked silicone elastomers as a model system.

The PhD project will be hosted within the Laboratory of Soft and Living Materials in the Department of Materials, where the experiments inspiring these questions are being performed. This offers a unique opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary team with tight feedback between experiment and theory.

The starting date is October 2020.

Your profile

  • Knowledge of solid mechanics with a special emphasis on continuum mechanics
  • Knowledge of computational mechanics/ C++ programming skills

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Graduation documents specifying academic records

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Laboratory of Soft and Living Materials can be found on our website www.softliv.?" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Stefanie Heyden, email stefanie.heyden [at] mat[.]ethz[.]ch (no applications).


In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 47620.

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