Post-doc: Monitoring Fluid Mud for Navigation

Department/faculty: Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Level: PhD degree
Working hours: 38 hours per week
Contract: 3 years
Salary: €3193 to €3427 per month gross

Civil Engineering and Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) provides leading international research and education, with innovation and sustainability as central themes. Research and education are closely interwoven and address societal challenges. The Faculty consists of the departments of Transport and Planning, Structural Engineering, Geoscience and Engineering, Water Management, Hydraulic Engineering, and Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

Hydraulic Engineering is one of the core themes in the field of civil and environmental engineering. The department works at the forefront of developing innovative technology and tools to support engineering and decision making in the broad field of hydraulic engineering. To this end, it carries out fundamental and groundbreaking research which leads the understanding of physical processes and their role in the dynamics of water systems, covering the fields of environmental fluid mechanics, coastal engineering, hydraulic structures and flood risk, offshore engineering, rivers, waterways, ports, and dredging engineering. The department has five academic sections.

The Rivers, Ports, Waterways and Dredging Engineering section focuses on three research lines. River Engineering is all about the prediction of short- and long-term responses of river systems to natural and anthropogenic changes; Ports and Waterways focuses on the design of ports and waterways, while Dredging Engineering is about the displacement of large volumes of sediment. The three research lines are entangled; therefore, a close cooperation is needed.

Job description

Maritime transport is the most efficient and environmentally friendly type of transport. Navigability in muddy areas is guaranteed by the estimation of nautical depth. For practical reasons, nautical depth is defined as a critical density. It has long been recognised that the relationship between density and the strength of mud is non-linear. Therefore, a new, strength-based definition of nautical depth has to be implemented. Mud is, however, a complex medium, and it is therefore a challenging task to correctly estimate its strength in-situ.
The goal of this project is to develop a novel, non-intrusive measurement technique that allows us to determine nautical depth in muddy areas. Geophysical monitoring methods can potentially be adapted for mud characterisation purposes. Both acoustic and shear waves can potentially be used for predicting the strength of mud layers. These attributes can provide not only information about the solid bottom of the waterways but can also be tested to detect the water-fluid mud interface using measured velocities and attenuations.
This work will include adaptation of existing methods and development of new ones linking seismic properties to strength of the mud layers. The acquisition geometry will be designed in order to increase the single-to-nose ratio of the desired signals (acoustic, shear, Scholte and converted waves). The outcome of this research will help to revise current dredging maintenance strategies in ports and waterways.


Candidates should have the following qualifications:
• A PhD in Geophysics, Seismology, Applied Physics or any other related field.
• Enthusiasm for applied research, theoretical and experimental work.
• Strong analytical skills and the ability to work independently and in a team.
• Good proficiency in spoken and written English.

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers an attractive, customisable compensation and benefits package, including a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers day care, before- and after-school care and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact Alex Kirichek, or Deyan Draganov, To apply, please send
(1) a letter in which you explain your interest in this position (max. 1 page),
(2) a detailed Curriculum Vitae which includes your educational record, list of publications, industrial experience (if any), and the names of three persons who may be contacted for a reference, as well as any other information you consider relevant for this application. Please e-mail your application by 3 July 2017 to Robin Ravestein,
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CITG17-11.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Civil Engineering and Geosciences
PhD degree
Working hours
3 years
€3193 to €3427 per month gross

Closing date
July 3, 2017
Vacancy nr.


For more information about this job, please contact Alex Kirichek, Post-doctoral Researcher.


For more information about the application procedure, please contact Robin Ravestein/HR.