Model-based robust design methodologies for composite pressure vessels

Location: Belgium
Application Deadline: 31/05/2024
Published: 1 month ago

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This research is hosted by the Mecha(tro)nic System Dynamics division (LMSD), counting more than 100 researchers and part of the department of Mechanical Engineering of KU Leuven. It boasts a rich legacy of bridging theoretical excellence with real-world applications. Our work not only influences renowned academic journals but also resonates within industrial circles. With a commitment to excellence, collaboration, and innovation, we offer a unique opportunity to contribute to ground-breaking research.
Hydrogen based energy is an important pillar to meet future energy demands in a renewable and sustainable manner. Academia and industry converge in this initiative to develop key enabling elements for hydrogen storage technologies that are more sustainable, reliable and affordable, in the form of recyclable and durable composite pressure vessels (CPVs). This PhD opportunity is part of an exciting international collaborative research initiative within the Horizon Europe programme. The EU project ECOHYDRO that will start in 2024 targets the reduction of whole lifetime costs of hydrogen storage technologies, the development of environmentally sustainable and circular storage systems, all the while ensuring the safety of the innovative hydrogen storage technologies, through the development of filament wound composite hydrogen storage tanks using high strength carbon fibres, low viscosity thermoplastic liquid resin and instant in-situ photopolymerization.

The KU Leuven departments of Mechanical Engineering and of Materials Engineering join forces in this project.  The former department focusses on product modelling which is complementary to research on process modelling which is done in the latter group. 14 other academic and industry partners bring in their expertise in design, production and operations of CPVs.


As a PhD researcher, you will tackle the challenge of performance variability of nominally identical CPVs. Variability stems from variations in manufacturing, material properties, and operating conditions and it affects the reliability and effectiveness of these vessels. CPVs should be purposefully designed to be insensitive to these disturbances. However, most computer-aided engineering software packages are not designed to handle non-determinism in material properties and geometrical descriptors. Our research group has developed methodologies (and associated tools) for the representation and analysis of variability through the use of non-intrusive stochastic finite element analysis. The objective of this PhD position is, therefore, to leverage this expertise and apply these techniques to develop procedures for the robust design (optimization) of composite pressure vessels, subject to a range of requirements and configurations.


  • A position in a vibrant high-level and exciting international research environment
  • Being part of international project team with a multitude of contacts in Europe and worldwide
  • A PhD title from KU Leuven, one of Europe’s top universities (after approximately 4 years of successful research)
  • A thorough scientific education in a doctoral training program
  • The possibility to participate in local as well as international courses, workshops and conferences
  • A tax-free PhD grant


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Dirk Vandepitte, mail: or Prof. dr. ir. David Moens, mail:


KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

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