2020-08- Postdoctoral position: Electrical discharges in water for rocks crushing

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Postdoctoral position: Electrical discharges in water for rocks crushing


Related to the International Chair PULPA (the acronym stands for PULsed Power Applications), recently awarded to Professor Bucur NOVAC from Loughborough University (UK), the industrial partner ITHPP (Thégra) and the SIAME laboratory of the ‘Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour’ are jointly suggesting a Post-Doctoral Award for a duration of 12 to 18 months.
The successful candidate will live at Pau but will also have to perform regular visits to Thégra in order to participate to common scientific experiments.

The "High Voltage Processes" team of the SIAME laboratory has been conducting research in the field of Pulsed Power (PP) for many years (siame.univ-pau.fr). Processes involving high pulsed electrical power have found a major expansion in the industrial world mainly for two reasons: the first is linked to recent technological advances which have made power systems (chargers, switches, energy storage sources) both more efficient and economically competitive; the second concerns changes in environmental regulations which require the implementation of new, less polluting processes, or even the adaptation of existing processes to limit their harmful effects and improve their efficiency.

For more information on the chair holder and the chair itself:
https://fr.calameo.com/read/00585790715275c917a3b p.52-53


Scientific context

Electrical rock fracturing is one of the activities developed over the last fifteen years by the "High Voltage Processes" team at the SIAME laboratory. This thematic has been the subject of various research collaboration contracts with the companies EFFITECH, TOTAL and ITHPP. The aim of this technique is to either perforate the rock, fracture it or damage it in order, for example, to modify its permeability.

Position and assignments

The work proposed in the framework of this Post-Doc position concerns the electric fracturing of rocks by the indirect method (i.e. by using electrical discharges in water) and is in line with the research funded by ITHPP (ithpp-alcen.com) within the PULPA chair. Electrical fracturing could be of major interest for mining applications for which this method would replace conventional uses: replacement of explosives (tunneling, quarry fracturing, shaft sinking, etc.) or replacement of mechanical processes (ore crushing, block reduction, etc.). Other applications are also to be considered in the field of marine works (underwater stripping), civil engineering (deconstruction, dismantling, pipe unclogging, etc.) or recovery of precious metals from electronic waste.

Research required:

The research program is divided into three parts:

  1. the first part is dedicated to the study of the influence of the internal parameters of the pulsed power shock pressure generator without the use of rock (tests carried out in water only)
    • influence of the electrical parameters of the pulses delivered by the generator,
    • influence of the sparker geometry,
  2. the second part is dedicated to the study of the influence of external parameters and the "sparker / rock" interface (tests carried out on rocks to be fractured),
  3. the third part is dedicated to the study of a prototype methodology.

Each of these three parts aims to maximize the conversion of electrical energy into acoustic energy. For each of them, a design of the experimental arrangement will be developed. The efficiency of the process will be characterized by a parameter specific to each part. Both experimental skills and specific theoretical experience, including the use of professional software, will be required for the successful completion of the research program.

The recruited person will be integrated in a team that includes a PhD student and 3 permanent staff.


Working conditions

Host laboratory :  SIAME

Localisation : Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA), Pau, France

Supervision : The post-doctoral fellow will work under the supervision of Pr. Bucur NOVAC and Pr. Laurent Pecastaing

Duration: one year, with possibility of extension

Starting period: two months after the announcement of the name of the successful candidate and obtaining the candidate written acceptance

Work load (in percentage): 100 %.

Monthly gross salary: 2960 €, including 64 hours of teaching/year



Diploma required: PhD Title or an equivalent foreign Diploma in the domain of electrical engineering (e.g., high-voltage, pulsed power or electromagnetism)

Desirable skills:

  • Experience in the domain of pulsed power or high-voltage technology would be highly appreciated
  • Experience with electric circuit solvers and/or electromagnetic software
  • Fundamental knowledge of electromagnetism
  • The candidate must be capable of performing research without day-by-day guidance and of collaborating with foreign researchers (a good level of English is preferable)
  • The candidate must be capable of producing reports and manuscripts to be send for publication to international renowned journals. The candidate should also be able to present oral contributions at conferences and present the results in front of sponsors at a general audience level.

English proficiency is compulsory.



Applications must be written in English.

Document required: a detailed CV

For more information and for applying for this position, please contact Professor Laurent Pecastaing by email at laurent.pecastaing @ univ-pau.fr



Application deadline : September 1st, 2020