Post-Doc Position: Thermodynamic Modelling and Data Assimilation for cryogenic liquid storage

Department Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics
Deadline None

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Careers at the von Karman Institute: Construct the future together!

For 65 years as international center of excellence in fluid dynamics, the von Karman Institute brings together young engineers and scientists from all over the world to study, improve their skills and perform their research.

Construct the future together! Besides its mission of education, the von Karman Institute gathers the top-level scientists and engineers to work on very challenging projects as the next generation of engines, new propulsion concepts, the new green energy, the safety of industry, solutions for a cleaner space, the Mission to Mars and many other fields of research which can make the difference for the human kind. Those scientists have access to more than 50 wind tunnels and test rigs, some of them unique in the world to help them in their projects.

VKI is a team of people looking in the same direction, for a better future, not only scientists and engineers but also students, PhD candidates, PostDocs, IT, Human Resources, accountants, librarians, designers and technicians and more....

“A scientist studies what is, whereas an engineer creates what never was“, Théodore von Kármán

Duration of the postdoc: 2 years

Deadline: Preferably before 1st April 2022

Background and Motivation

The position is open within the framework of the CHyPS project (Clean Hydrogen Propulsion for Ships), which aims at developing a comprehensive modelling
platform to simulate ship engines propelled by green fuels such as hydrogen or methane. These are promising solutions to cope with the ever-growing demand of the maritime
sector while mitigating greenhouse emissions.

More specifically, the candidate will develop novel predictive tools for the thermodynamics of the propellant storage systems operating at cryogenic temperatures. The cryogenic conditions are particularly challenging because of the unavoidable heat exchange with the surroundings and the consequent evaporation and pressure build-up associated with it. Therefore, managing the heat leakage (hence mitigating the boil-off losses) is a key enabler in the pathway towards the future generation of green engines.


Research Program

The aim of the project is to develop automatic data-assimilation approach for the modelling of cryogenic fuels under various conditions (e.g., sloshing or re-filling). The self-calibration will allow to extend the predictive capabilities of low order (0D or 1D) models by continuously adapting the modelling of the closure parameters (e.g., heat and mass transfer at the gas-liquid interface) with online data. The main challenges to be addressed are:

- Development of a numerical environment describing the thermodynamic states of a fuel tank using 0D and 1D models, given the closure coefficients (e.g., heat and mass transfer coefficients).

- Development of a closed-loop predictor for the online assimilation of the closure coefficients. The architectures of interest include physics informed approaches (using the adjoint method) and regression-based technique (using deep learning).

- Training and testing of the proposed method on scenarios of growing complexity, using experimental and numerical data for the calibration.



- PhD in applied fluid dynamics or related fields

- A strong background in thermo-fluid dynamics and data assimilation

- A good research output (peer-reviewed publications in high quality journals)

- Good and open communication skills, with experience in student supervision

- have a very good knowledge of English (spoken and written)

- be team players;



- Employed by the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in one of the most attractive areas of central Europe in the neighborhood of Brussels.

- Work at the internationally renowned von Karman Institute in a key role, advancing technologies for future propulsion systems and propellant management.

- Work in close collaboration with Belgian universities as well as an industrial network.

- Become part of the VKI network with global access to industry experts and academics in the field of fluid dynamics, aerospace, propulsion, and energy conversion.

- Experience the unique international workshop character of the VKI working environment.

- Access to specialized seminars and lecture series and to world-unique facilities.



Candidates can be of any nationality.

VKI does strictly adhere to the ethical standards of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
( . Female scientists are particularly encouraged to apply.
A strict equal opportunity, gender-neutral and internationally comparable recruitment procedure is implemented.


Contact information

For further information, please contact Pr. Miguel Mendez(


How to apply

Applications must contain a CV, motivation letter, publication list, contact information of two referees, copy of the Degree and Master title. CV must clearly indicate the exact dates of (1) each position hold in the past, and (2) countries of residence in the last 5 years.

All the fields (including pdf files and references) should be filled in to allow you to confirm your application. Only full applications will be taken into account. Please do not use white spaces or special characters to name your files. If you have not received a confirmation email it means that you have not fulfilled all required fields.

Short-listed candidates are called for an interview with the search committee at the von Karman Institute. The selected candidate must comply with the internal procedures of the von Karman Institute before she or he can begin to work. The von Karman Institute reserves the right not to appoint a candidate if no suitable candidate is found.

Formal evaluation of candidates will begin on April 1st 2022 and continue until the position is filled.

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