PhD-student in Machine Elements – Electric vehicle, EV, tribology

  • Contract
  • Sweden

Lulea University of Technology

Luleå University of Technology is in strong growth with world-leading competence in several research areas. We shape the future through innovative education and ground-breaking research results, and based on the Arctic region, we create global social benefit. Our scientific and artistic research and education are conducted in close collaboration with international, national and regional companies, public actors and leading universities. Luleå University of Technology has a total turnover of SEK 1.9 billion per year. We currently have 1,840 employees and 17,670 students.

In the coming years, multi-billion investments will be made in large projects in Northern Sweden to create a fossil-free society both nationally and globally. Luleå University of Technology is involved in several of these cutting-edge research projects and in the societal transformation that they entail. We offer a broad range of courses and study programmes to match the skills in demand. We hope that you will help us to build the sustainable companies and societies of the future.

The Division of Machine Elements, ME, at the Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, TVM, is a research group that enthusiastically works for a more sustainable world. In our group, focus is to develop products and processes that are energy-efficient, preferably fossil-free and renewable that offers minimal environmental impact. We are a large and growing group of about thirty doctoral students and ten seniors. In our postgraduate education, PhD@ME, we strive for the doctoral student to develop into an expert in the field, a skilled researcher, but also to grow as a person. With the completion of the doctoral degree, we see that the candidate has developed the skillset to be able to initiate and lead research projects within academia, industry, or other parts of the society. Being part of the research group means working in an international and creative environment with good resources and an extensive international contact network. The research group is one of the leading tribology groups in Europe and there are good opportunities for exchanges with other groups in Europe and other parts of the world.

The activities at ME include many aspects of tribology, e.g. materials tribology, lubrication and lubricants, condition monitoring, biotribology, computational tribology and tribology of machine components. The research is both of a basic research nature and of an applied character and is often conducted in close cooperation with the Swedish and international industry. The group is responsible for some of the theory and project courses that are given within LTU’s engineering programs. In particular, courses are given in the Mechanical Engineering program and in the international master’s program for tribology, Tribos.

We are now looking for a PhD student who will work on developing the understanding about the interplay between tribology and stray currents in transmission components for heavy electric vehicles,HEVs.

The project is carried out in close collaboration with the heavy vehicle manufacturer, Scania CV AB in Sweden, and the candidate will be closely integrated into their electric powertrain R&D activities. Parts of the research can if desired be conducted on-site at Scania’s electric motor laboratory in Södertälje, Sweden. The candidate will operate at the very cutting edge of technology and will with his/her research work contribute in driving the shift for sustainability by aiding Scania in their electrification journey.

Subject description
Machine Elements comprises the analysis and optimization of machine components and component systems in order to enhance performance, longevity, energy-efficiency, reliability and sustainability. Particular emphasis is placed on issues in the field of tribology.

Project description
The transition from internal combustion engine driven trucks to trucks driven by electric motors has led to new demands for vehicle manufacturers, independent on whether the energy comes from batteries or fuel cells. One of the biggest and most critical problems in electric powertrains is parasitic stray currents. Parasitic stray currents originate from the battery DC to AC voltage conversion and propagate through the powertrains bearings and gears risking electrical discharges depending on the tribological situation. With time the discharges lead to damages to the bearing raceways and gear surfaces which in turn leads to noise and drastically reduced service life. The main goal of the project is to establish fundamental knowledge about electrified tribological contacts so that bearing currents and its damages can be eliminated.

The project is primarily of experimental nature but can also include numerical modelling for increased understanding of the studied phenomenon. The project is carried out in close collaboration with Scania and parts of the project can be conducted on-site at Scania’s R&D facilities in Södertälje, Sweden.

The tasks are varied; you work independently to plan and carry out studies, write scientific articles while completing your doctoral dissertation. In between, you study postgraduate courses and participate in seminars and conferences in Sweden as well as internationally. During the journey, you have at least three supervisors who support you in your work. You will also have the support of experts at Scania.

Applicants must have an MSc degree in Engineering or Natural Sciences, for example, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Materials Science or equivalent. Very good skills in oral and written communication in English is also a requirement.

The following selection criteria apply:

  • Knowledge relevant to the project in question,
  • Personal qualities relevant to research
  • Quality of Master’s Thesis

Predicted that the qualifications are equal, the underrepresented gender, currently female, will be given priority in this recruitment.

Further information
Employment as a PhD student is limited to 4 years, teaching and other department duties may be added with max 20%. Placement: Luleå. Starting: As soon as possible according to agreement.

For further information, you are welcome to contact the supervisor group:
Roland Larsson, Chair Professor (+46)920-491325, [email protected]
Marcus Björling, Associate Professor (+46)920-491281, [email protected]
Jonny Hansen, Tech Lead and tribologist at electric powertrain development at Scania, (+46) 8 553 812 23, [email protected].   

Union representatives:
SACO – Kjell Johansson (+46)920-49 1529 [email protected]
OFR – Lars Frisk, (+46) 920 49 1792, [email protected]

In case of different interpretations of the English and Swedish versions of this announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

We prefer that you apply for this position by clicking on the apply button below. The application should include a CV, personal letter and copies of verified diplomas from high school and universities. Your application, including diplomas, must be written in English or Swedish. Mark your application with the reference number below.

Closing date for applications: 15 November 2023
Reference number: 3971-2023

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