KU Leuven

Postdoc: high-order solver to model aerothermodynamics&transition in hypersonics

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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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The Center for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics (CmPA) at KU Leuven and the COOLFluiD team are looking for a qualified individual for continuing the development of a high-order Flux Reconstruction (FR) solver for modeling aerothermodynamics and laminar-to-turbulent
transition in hypersonic flows, within the framework of a project titled "A new-generation high-order Flux Reconstruction solver to model aerothermodynamics and transition for hypersonic vehicles", funded by the FWO (Flemish Science Foundation).

The work place is Leuven, a historic university town (our university is one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1425) located just 20 minutes from the center of Brussels and 15 minutes from Brussels international airport, making it easily reachable for international travelers.
Leuven is an international city located in the Flemish (Dutch speaking) part of Belgium, where English is spoken routinely in all places (from University and public offices to shops and entertainment venues). The distance from Brussel and from other French speaking parts of the country is so small that it is perfectly possible to commute.

Our division, the Center for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics (CmPA, wis.kuleuven.be/CmPA), is a leading center in the study of space science. Our team is formed of five professors (plus one active emeritus) and about 40 experts, scientists, postdocs and students working on different aspects of simulation and data analysis applied to solar and space science, astrophysics and other plasma processes (e.g. nuclear fusion energy, industrial, space propulsion & hypersonic re-entry).

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The candidate will further develop an existing CFD solver using high-order FR methods, currently providing up to P9 (aka 10th order) for solution accuracy and Q2 (aka 3rd order polynomials) for geometric representation, in order to simulate aerothermodynamics and laminar-to-turbulent transition in hypersonic flows around space vehicles on unstructured 3D grids.

The target developments will include:
- modeling of thermo-chemical non-equilibrium processes in hypersonics;
- improvement of RANS models for laminar-to-turbulent transition in hypersonics;
- code optimization via semi-implicit and matrix-free methods;
- extension of existing Adaptive Mesh Refinement (r-AMR) for FR to tackle high-aspect ratio 3D grids;
- simulations of complex 3D geometries such as space capsules and hypersonic vehicles with lifting surfaces.

The baseline code is fully implemented in C++, uses implicit time stepping to accelerate convergence to steady state and relies upon MPI for parallelization. A partial GPU-enabled (through CUDA) implementation is also available and may be further developed within this project. Parallel I/O algorithms using MPI-IO for writing solution files in TECPLOT or Paraview formats may also be implemented.

All developments will be implemented within the COOLFluiD platform, a large open source platform for flow and plasma simulations, whose overview can be seen at:

https://github.com/andrealani/COOLFluiD/wiki (official Wiki)

https://www.nas.nasa.gov/publications/ams/2019/10-29-19.html (talk @NASA Ames).

In addition, the candidate may be involved in co-supervising future master thesis or Ph.D. students, working on related developments inside COOLFluiD.


Given the strict requirements and complexity of this project, proven expertise in the following 5 skills is considered ESSENTIAL for any application to be evaluated (please, read this list well before considering to apply):
1- high-order CFD methods for unstructured meshes (FR preferred, but also DG or Spectral Finite Difference/Volumes);
2- simulating supersonic or hypersonic flows with shocks;
3- 3D visualization with TECPLOT or ParaView or Visit;
4- coding in C/C++;
5- mesh generation of 3D grids with curvilinear elements with Gmsh or Pointwise or software supporting high-order elements.

In addition, we require proven expertise with at least one of:

6- modeling of hypersonic flows in thermo-chemical non-equilibrium;
7- modeling of transition-to-turbulence with RANS;

Only if the candidate fits the previous requirements, the following skills will be considered additional valuable assets:

8- strong interest in aerospace applications;
9- parallel computing with MPI and/or CUDA;
10- experience with implicit time stepping, matrix-free Krylov methods/parallel preconditioners, PETSc
11- Adaptive Mesh Refinement algorithms for unstructured meshes.

In order to simplify the review process, we explicitly require the applicant's Cover Letter to include a detailed rating (N/A, low, good, high, expert) for each of the 11 above-mentioned skills.
For example:  1(high), 2(high), 3(expert), 4(low), 5(low), 6(N/A), 7(good), 8(good), 9(N/A), 10(N/A), 11(expert). 

The ideal candidate should be a team player also able to work independently and efficiently. Please notice that the project in question has deliverables and
strict deadlines, therefore the candidate is expected to be able to deliver timely both high-quality numerical results and technical documentation (reports) of his/her work.


This position is initially for 2 years, possibly extendible to a third and fourth year upon successful performance evaluation.


For more information please contact Dr. Andrea Lani, tel.: +32 16 32 74 94, mail: andrea.lani@kuleuven.be.
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Job details

Postdoc: high-order solver to model aerothermodynamics&transition in hypersonics
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2023-05-31 23:59:59
Job type
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