PhD Position in Passive Fire Protection
The University of Twente. School of Physics


Faculty: Physics

Employer: The University of Twente





The research group: The Physics of Fluids group is part of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, of the Technical Medical (TechMed) Centre and, since 2018 is also a Max Planck Center for complex fluid dynamics. The activities of the group encompass turbulence, soft matter, wetting, granular flow, biomedical flow imaging, ultrasound, microfluidics and nanoscale flow, phase change dynamics, heat and mass transfer. The group therefore offers a rich, multidisciplinary and very international (over a dozen nationalities) environment where experimental physics, theoretical physics and large scale simulation work in synergy to approach a collection of physical problem that span from fundamental to applied and from curiosity-driven research to industry-driven research. The group is in embedded within an international network and promotes international collaboration and exchanges.



Passive fire protection increases safety by delaying fire damage and slowing down its progression, thereby providing time for evacuation and intervention. Despite extensive efforts, the death of thousands of people and the destruction of billions of euros of material, yearly, emphasizes the limited effectiveness of current technologies. Intumescent coatings are designed to be easy to use, light weight, durable and compatible with modern architecture aesthetics, which makes them the most attractive option. Their effectiveness depends on both their homogeneity and their swelling ratio. However, industrial developments in the field of intumescence are rapidly slowing down as the constitutive chemistry is reaching its ultimate performance.


This project offers to break away from the chemical approach and investigate an innovative physical concept based on the vaporization of microcapsules. Upon heating, these capsules absorb a large amount of heat from their vicinity and vaporize. Consequently, these capsules can undergo a volume increase of several thousand times, far beyond what current chemistry-based technologies can reach.


Firstly, the candidate will first use the state-of-the-art microfluidic technology available in the Physics of Fluids group to produce and investigate such particles, including their vaporization dynamics observed using high-speed imaging at up to 25 million frames per second. The candidate will investigate their physical interactions and design the requirements and the techniques to control the vaporization of a suspension of these agents. Secondly, the candidate will work in close collaboration with PPG, leader in intumescent and protective coatings to investigate the effect of a viscoelastic polymer matrix and to design a prototype of this new generation of coatings to be tested in industrial conditions.


The project will rely on the combined expertise of our international collaborators and predominantly on experimental work, but will also include some theoretical and simulation work.

Keywords: Bubble/intumescent coatings/heat and mass transfer/vaporization/viscoelasticity/fire protection



We are looking for highly motivated candidates with a MSc degree in engineering, physics, micro or nanotechnology, or related topic. You should be an enthusiastic person with well-developed communication skills. You should be capable of working independently as well as in a multidisciplinary team. Innovative and creative thinking are other requirements.

Information and application


If this offer interests you, please contact Dr. Ir. Guillaume Lajoinie ( or Prof. Michel Versluis ( for more information. Your application must consist of a short motivation letter, a curriculum vitae and Copies of relevant diplomas and grade lists. Candidates should upload their application before 1 august 2019 using the application button below.



As a PhD candidate you will be offered a full-time (38 hours/week) position for four years, after which you should have completed your PhD thesis. In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the gross monthly salary for a PhD increases from € 2325,-- in the first year to € 2972,-- in the final year plus a holiday allowance (8%), an end-year bonus (8.3% of the annual salary) and a number of additional benefits. The University of Twente provides excellent campus facilities, and actively supports professional and personal development.

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