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Research Assistant - Development and Processing of Advanced Aluminium Alloys for Additive Manufacturing (AM) with the option for a PhD thesis at ETH Zürich

100%, fixed-term
inspire AG ( is a technology transfer organisation linked strongly to several professorships of ETH Zurich including the institute for mechanical and process engineering with “Advanced Manufacturing” as a key topic led by Prof. Dr. Markus Bambach.

Job description

On the high-performing end of Aluminium alloys used in additive manufacturing, very few solutions are tailor-made for this very special process. Most of the alloys are either directly adapted (e.g. AlSi10Mg), or developed from casting alloys, the most prominent example being Scalmalloy. While the former exhibit good processability with selective laser melting (SLM), but medium macro-properties, the latter is not easy to process, but has superior technological properties even at elevated temperatures. However, these come at very high alloy costs and the dependence on critical elements (critical with respect to the environment due to extraction, and with respect to supply due to monopolies), mainly Scandium. The application range of this alloy is thus very limited. Our aim is to increase sustainability of high-perfo rmance alloys by avoiding the use of rare earth (RE) metals, while employing the whole process chain - from powder production to the SLM process - in order to develop a new alloy specifically for the SLM process. You will apply the benefits from the processes in question being extremely far away from equilibrium to investigate compositions that are otherwise impossible to process.

In our research group, you are able to explore the SLM process chain and to develop advanced aluminium alloys. This includes the theoretical assessment of phase formation and evolution during the SLM process, using a combined SLM-process and material (ThermoCalc) simulation. You will use experimental alloys and powders thereof to investigate their behaviour during SLM processing. Microstructural and mechanical material characterization serve for the optimization of the alloy composition and its processing route. You will work closely together with another scientific assistant focussing on the simulation and production of experimental powders used in this project.

A scientific assistant position (with the possibility to write a Ph.D. thesis at ETH Zürich) is available from January 1st, 2021. You have a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering with expertise in materials science/engineering or a related field. The research is part of a project that will be realized in collaboration between inspire and a Swiss industrial partner.

Your profile

Working in our small research team, as well as the close cooperation with our industrial partners, requires a motivated team player who works proactively and is open for new developments. We are looking for a person with:

  • A master degree in mechanical engineering, material science or similar with good grades
  • Deep interest in the development and processing of advanced alloys for additive manufacturing
  • Fluent skills of English orally and written and good conversation practice in German


Do you also thrive on working on a topic, which is on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing, material science and applications, directly related to industry, and has an impact on the Swiss economy as well as addressing sustainability aspects? I’m looking forward to answering your questions in more detail and to receiving your application CV, 2 reference letters/contacts, publications/MSc thesis, and transcripts of grades - together, we will work on the future of high-performance SLM parts!

For further info or submission of application documents please contact:

Dr. Adriaan Spierings, inspire AG, inspire-icams, Fürstenlandstrasse 122, CH-9014 St. Gallen,, +41 (0)71 523 62 01

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