Eindhoven University of Technology

PhD's Turning slags from fossilfree steelmaking into circular building materials

2024-07-15 (Europe/Amsterdam)
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We are an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude.

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Are you eager to work on making the world a better place? With these 3 PhD positions we aim to develop the new types of slags from fossil-free steelmaking into cementitious binders, replacing non-renewable raw materials used for Portland cement production by sustainable and circular resources.

Position PhD-student

Irène Curie Fellowship No

Department(s) Built Environment

FTE 1,0

Date off 15/07/2024

Reference number V38.7503

Job description

In the next seven years the iron & steel industry, as well as the cement industry will drastically transform their production processes to achieve major reductions in CO2-emissions and a circular economy as mandated by the European Green Deal. As part of this process steel production will change from carbothermic to hydrogen based. This will lead to significantly different slags with consequences for both the steel and the cement industry. Concrete is by far the most produced material in the world, and reducing its environmental impact is a major concern. Currently granulated Blast Furnace slag from carbothermic iron-production is used to replace up to 85% of Ordinary Portland cement clinker. In future fossil-free steelmaking the Blast Furnace slags will no longer be available. In this project the future slag types will be explored for application in cement and concrete in the following ways: as an SCM in combination with Portland cement clinker, as a standalone binder, as constituents of high density concrete (aggregate and binder) for coastal protection and as autoclaved products. The input slag materials and output slag-based products will be characterized with state-of-the-art measurement techniques. The resulting streams of materials will be used to design and produce new circular building materials at pilot scale. The research is part of the Materials Innovation Institute (M2i) project “SLAK”, comprising a collaboration between TU/e and Industry partners Tata Steel IJmuiden, Heidelberg Materials, ECOCEM and Pelt& Hooykaas. Pilot scale facilities will be available at the Centre de Recherches Métallurgiques and ResourceFull.

PhD position 1 - Slag characterization and stand-alone slag binder systems: This PhD focuses on High-temperature slag synthesis and modelling of crystallization phase equilibria as well as experimental slag characterization. Monitoring of hydration reactions by combining in-situ XRD, isothermal calorimetry, pore fluid extraction and analysis as well as in-situ measurement of pH, Ca2+-activity and Electroconductivity will be carried out to investigate the influence of activators on kinetics and equilibria, as well as the modelling of fluid-phase evolution.

PhD position 2 - OPC-slag blends: This position focuses on slag milling, milling product characterization, effect of grinding additives and the subsequent testing of the resulting reactivity. Blends of slag and Portland cement will be made and the reactivity monitored using various methods. The results will be upscaled to OPC-slag blends for demonstrator applications together with the industrial partners.

PhD position 3: - Mortar and concrete mix design: The main focus is on applying the new slags in blended concrete systems and other products such as mixes for carbonation curing, autoclave curing. These mixes will be designed and tested in the lab and then upscaled to demonstrator size with support from the industrial partners.

Please specify in your application which position you are applying to.

Candidates, supported by a postdoc in physical-chemical modelling of slag reactivity (advertised), will join the Building Materials Group which contains 25 PhDs, 3 postdocs, 2 assistant professors, 1 associate professor, and 2 full professors. This research group works on new, sustainable, and circular building materials containing or synthesized from secondary raw materials with good chemical, physical and aesthetic properties, and added functionalities. Examples are natural fibers, fly ashes, nano-silica, aerogels, slags or recycled aggregates. Functionalities, including fire resistance, air purification, self-cleaning, high performance, and hydrophobicity, are investigated and developed for these building materials. Moreover, durability and sustainability, such as the degradation of, or leaching from, building materials when exposed to aggressive service environments, are studied. The investigations are carried out based on experimental observations and modeling.

The research group possesses a well-equipped, state-of-the-art building material laboratory for physical/chemical/mechanical/environmental treatment, testing and recycling, and has access to the structural design laboratory at the same department, and shares facilities with the sister Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. The group has close contacts with the building material industry and frequently cooperating with other researchers, both domestic and international.

Job requirements

  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Engineering (mechanical, chemical…), Earth Sciences (Mineralogy/Petrology, low-T geochemistry..), Chemistry (inorganic, physical..) or similar.
  • Knowledge about mineralogical materials, cementitious/inorganic binders, concrete, and recycling.
  • A research-oriented attitude.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • Motivated to develop your teaching skills and coach students.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English: C1 level = IELTS: 7.0 score or TOEFL: 90 score.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 

Curious to hear more about what it’s like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact the hiring manager Asst. Prof. Katrin Schollbach, k.schollbach@tue.nl.

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment.

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a university transcript of subjects studied for your MSc, a list of research instruments used, your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • A letter of recommendation from one or more of your references.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

Job details

PhD's Turning slags from fossilfree steelmaking into circular building materials
De Zaale Eindhoven, Netherlands
Application deadline
2024-07-15 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam)
2024-07-15 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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About the employer

We are an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude.

Visit the employer page

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