ESR 13: Development of icing strategy for wind sensors

FT Technologies, Sunbury-on-Thames (UK)

Supervisor: Tanmoy Maitra

Doctoral position

We are looking for a graduate with a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physical Chemistry or Physics or related fields Chemistry to work with an highly interdisciplinary research team consisting of Acoustics, Aerodynamics engineers and  Materials scientist to tackle challenging problems facing surface icing on ultrasonic wind sensors that are used in plethora of applications, including but not limited to wind turbines, weathering stations and UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).  

The candidate will participate as an early-stage researcher (ESR) to the Marie Skłodowska – Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) project: “Smart surface design for efficient ice protection and control” (SURFICE). A project under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The project will be supervised by Dr Tanmoy Maitra (Materials Specialist) and Olivier Schlenkhoff-Hus (Director of R&D) at FT Technologies UK (Ltd.), and co-supervised by Prof. Anna Maria Coclite at Graz University of Technology where the candidate will be enrolled for PhD degree. The candidate will also have opportunity to spend at different SURFICE partner institutions for 3-6 months. This is an excellent opportunity for a bright mind who will thrive scientifically with an internationally recognized and highly motivated group of scientists from well-established industries as well as highly reputed universities. 

The PhD candidate will work in a small and dynamic research team comprising of a Materials Specialist, an Aerodynamic and two Acoustics Engineers. The candidate will study and develop state-of-art technologies to meet challenges to deploy wind sensors in demanding real-world conditions, including icing.

The ESR will be matriculated as doctoral Student of the School of Physics at Graz University of Technology, from which shall obtain the PhD degree.

Job Description

The project will aim to develop an icing strategy for ultrasonic wind sensors. The strategy will exploit greatly different coatings, the passive mechanism, to reduce ice nucleation and adhesion that leads to minimize the need of existing active (heating) strategy in the wind sensors. The projects will be organized into main phases:

Commercial and state-of-art hydrophobic coating technologies

  • Ranges of different commercial hydrophobic coatings such as perfluoro alkoxy industrial coatings, polyurethane and polyurea based coatings will be studied on device scale
  • Application and designing of i-CVD organic polymer coatings will be studied on device scale in collaboration with Graz University of Technology.

Coating characterizations

  • Thickness and chemistry of coatings will be characterized
  • Wettability and icing performance of coatings will be characterized in collaboration with UNIMIB

Validation tests of coatings

  • To evaluate the coatings performance, there are many tests will be performed in laboratory artificially that simulate real world conditions. Those ASTM and ISO standard tests includes, but not limited: Defense standard icing tests (DEF- STAN), weathering tests (including UV), corrosion tests and rain tests.   

As a part of this consortium, the candidate will have secondments at Gratz University of Technology (Prof. Anna Maria Coclite) and at University of Milano-Bicocca (Dr. Carlo Antonini). 

Your profile

  • Candidates should have recently obtained a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physical chemistry or Physics or related fields with outstanding grades from highly reputed and internationally recognized university
  • Excellent knowledge of materials, surface chemistry and phase change processes 
  • Strong experimental/numerical/theoretical background in polymers, metal alloys, environmental testing, (ISO and ASTM) etc.
  • Experience working with solid works, 3D printing and basic knowledge on electronics are desirable  
  • Language skills: ENGLISH: Excellent.

Institution address

FT Technologies, Sunbury House, Brooklands Close, Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 7DX, UK.

Important dates

Expected starting of the working contract is between 01.06.2021 and 01.09.2021 (by agreement).

Interviews for ESR13 have started, based on the CVs collected before 31st March. New applications will be considered, only until the positions are filled.

Application process

By e-mail to and louise.romano@fttech.co.uk and to recruitment@surfice-itn.eu, including the recruitment form and others documents given in the general information. This information also gives the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA, the application requirements and the selection process.

For questions and further information on the position, please contact Louise Romano, Head of HR at louise.romano@fttech.co.uk.

Additional details

FT Technologies specialises in the design and manufacture of ultrasonic wind sensors – also known as anemometers or air-flow sensors. What makes FT ultrasonic wind sensors unique is our use of acoustic resonance for measuring wind speed, direction and temperature.

Invented by our Executive Chairman, Dr Savvas Kapartis, and patented in 1997, Acu-Res® Technology uses an acoustic wave which is resonated inside a small cavity. A strong resonating sound wave in a small space provides a large signal that is easy to measure. Acu-Res® has a signal to noise ratio more than 40db stronger than other ultrasonic technologies.

Using Acu-Res® Technology results in a compact, easily heated sensor which operates reliably, even under extreme weather conditions. The sensor’s small size means that power is used very efficiently ensuring that the sensor can stay ice-free. Essentially, Acu-Res® sets FT sensors apart from mechanical and other ultrasonic technologies to give a more robust and reliable wind measurement solution.

FT Technologies is based in beautiful open plan offices, laboratories and workshops with state of the art research and development facilities in Sunbury, near South West London.

FT encourages the learning and development of employees, offering ongoing training and support to enhance both existing and new skillsets, from coaching to training courses, to help you succeed. These training courses are in addition to courses that will be organized by ETH SURFICE consortium. As full time employee at FT subject to successfully passing the six month probationary period, the candidate will also enjoy following benefits including:  

  • During the probationary period, benefits include:
  • 9% non-contributory pension
  • 24 days annual leave per calendar year, rising to 25 after one year’s service, plus all bank and Public holidays
  • Flexi-time and up to 8 hours additional Flexi-Leave during each 4 week period
  • Daily breakfast, fresh fruit, shower facility, bicycle storage
  • Subsidized social events and sports activities

After six months service and successfully passing the probationary period, the candidate will also benefit from the following:

  1. AXA PPP private medical insurance paid for in full by the company (a taxable benefit)
  2. Life Assurance death in service benefit of 2 times salary
  3. Season ticket loan
  4. Discounted gym membership: Nuffield Health Multi-Club Access
  5. A free eyesight check, provided by Specsavers, including money off vouchers for glasses
  6. Cycle to work scheme