ESR 3: Solidification of a supercooled water drop after an impact onto anti-icing substrates

Technische Universität Darmastadt, Darmstadt (Germany)

Supervisor: Ilia Roisman

Doctoral position

We are looking for a young graduate with a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Engineering or Materials Science, with experience in wetting, icing, and/or adhesion, for a 36-month doctoral position in the area of icephobic surfaces.

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 carried out at Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany), under scientific supervision of Prof. Ilia Roisman (, secondments of 3-6 month at different MSCA-ITN partner institutions will be part of the project.

The ESR will be matriculated as doctoral Student of the Technische Universität Darmstadt, from which he/she shall obtain the PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Job Description

The rate of heterogeneous nucleation on complex solid substrates is influenced by specific coating chemical properties, surface morphology and by drop impact. It determines the conditions for the inception of the freezing. A universal model for heterogeneous ice nucleation is still missing.

The objectives of the project include better understanding the physics of the ice heterogeneous nucleation in a spreading or propagating supercooled drop on complex substrates. Two main processes will be studied: i) single drop impact onto a cold substrate and ii) drop propagation on a substrate under the action of an air flow.

The ESR will be responsible for the experimental project which objectives include the measurement of the nucleation rates and probabilities of supercooled (up to -20 °C) drop solidification on complex substrates due to heterogeneous nucleation after high-speed drop impact and shear-driven drop propagation in the TUDA wind channel. The phenomena are governed by the fast growth of the mushy layer of dendrites, viscous and thermal boundary layers, bubble entrainment. Various designs of anti-icing substrates will be used in experiments, including the substrates produced by the partners in the SURFICE consortium. ESR3 will be also hosted by Prof. A.L. Yarin at UIC (USA) and by ANSYS (Canada) supporting the computations and development of a theoretical model for nucleation and freezing of an impacting drop.

Your profile

  • Candidates should have recently obtained a Master’s degree in Physics, Engineering or Materials Science with outstanding grades.
  • Strong experimental and theoretical background in at least one of the following topics: wetting phenomena, icing/solidification, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, optical measurement methods.
  • Desirable: experience in design and setup of an experimental test-rig.
  • Language skills: ENGLISH: Excellent.

Institution address

Institute for Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics, Technische Universität Darmstadt
Alarich-Weiss-Str. 10, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany.

Important dates

Expected starting of the working contract: 1st June 2021.
We look forward to receiving your application until 31st March 2021.

Application process

By e-mail to and, to the attention of Prof. Ilia Roisman and Dr. Irene Tagliaro.

Please include the application form and other documents given in the general information. The general information also indicates the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA, the application requirements and the selection process.

For questions and further information on the position, please contact Prof. Ilia Roisman at