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Research Assistant - Powder development of Advanced Aluminium Alloys for AM with the option for a PhD thesis at ETH Zürich

100%, Zurich, fixed-term
inspire AG ( is a technology transfer organization with strong links to ETH Zürich. Its mission is to conduct research in the field of production engineering and to bring the scientific results and insights to the Swiss machine, electrical and metal industries. The research group inspire Materials, Processes and Sustainability offers the following position: Research Assistant - Powder development of Advanced Aluminium Alloys for AM with the option for a PhD thesis at ETH Zürich.

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-performance 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 farm away from equilibrium to investigate compositions that are otherwise impossible to process. In the labs of our new group, you are able to explore the whole process chain, starting with virtually assessing phase formation and evolution via material simulation (ThermoCalc), and creating and characterizing experimental powders with a lab-scale atomizer, post-treatment possibilities and metallography lab, with the aim to use these powders in additive manufacturing. You will work closely together with another scientific assistant focussing on the SLM process chain, and related material properties.

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 graduate degree 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 material science and manufacturing technologies, 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. Konrad Papis, inspire AG, Technoparkstrasse 1, CH-8005 Zurich, papis, +41 (0)44 633 79 68

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