PhD student position in experimental fluid dynamics

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The research in the newly established Multiphase Fluid Dynamics group examines both fundamental and applied questions in various small-scale multiphase fluid phenomena, such as bubble and droplet dynamics and the resulting fast flows. One of our key objectives is to control bubble oscillations to exploit their energy-focusing characteristics. We also develop experimental techniques to observe and characterise high-speed multiphase fluid phenomena optically and acoustically. The group is part of the Institute of Fluid Dynamics, which pursues a broad range of experimental, numerical and theoretical research efforts in a friendly and inclusive environment with state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Starting date: 1 October 2022, or later. Negotiable.

Duration of appointment: Maximum 4 years.

Project background

Currently, little is known about cavitation bubble dynamics in complex fluids. We are particularly interested in yield-stress fluids, which form a specific class of non-Newtonian fluids that possess characteristic yield stress below which they may support the imposed external stress elastically but beyond which they no longer act as a solid but rather flow like a viscous fluid. Such viscoplastic behaviour is present in a wide range of soft materials, such as emulsions, foams, detergents, and gels. Cavitation bubble dynamics in such media are relevant in numerous industrial sectors such as additive manufacturing, food industry, cosmetics, and ultrasound-induced degassing and defoaming processes.

Job description

We seek to appoint a PhD student to conduct experimental research to discover the effects of material mechanical properties on cavitation bubble dynamics in yield stress fluids and soft elastic solids. You will design your experimental setup by exploiting the state-of-the-art ultra-high-speed imaging, optical and acoustic facilities available in our lab. You will also couple your experimental findings with numerical simulations performed by our collaborators at the Fluid Lab at the Soft Matter Group of University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (numerical PhD opening of this project can be found here), with whom tight scientific exchange will happen throughout the project. In addition to research, you will contribute to teaching and lab activities in the institute.

Your profile

The requirements include a Master's degree in mechanical, aeronautical or chemical engineering, physics, material science or a related field. You should be curiosity-driven, creative, open-minded and independent, and have good communication skills, fluency in English and the willingness to fully commit yourself as a part of an international team. You should also have strong interests in experimental fluid mechanics, multi-phase flows, acoustics, and similar. Experience in experimental research is an advantage, but not necessary. However, you should be excited about the prospect of working in a lab.

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

To apply for this position, please submit: 

  • a motivation letter (max 2 pages) explaining your interests
  • your CV (max 2 pages)
  • diploma transcripts (BSc/MSc) from which the grades are evident
  • and the names and addresses (including email) of three references

Applications must be submitted using the online tool, not by e-mail. Applications are accepted until the position is filled.

For more information on our group and on the Institute of Fluid Dynamics, visit the website ( or contact the group leader, Prof Outi Supponen via email at (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.