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Development of dispersion-based material characterization algorithms for building acoustic applications

Development of dispersion-based material characterization algorithms for building acoustic applications

The KU Leuven Noise and Vibration Research Group, which currently counts 90 researchers and is headed by Prof. Wim Desmet , is part of the Mechanical Engineering Department, a vibrant environment of more than 300 researchers. The group initiated research in noise and vibration in the late sixties, with initial efforts focussed on the development of experimental methods, with the birth of modal analysis and applications in the automotive and aeronautics sectors. The eighties are marked with the introduction of numerical techniques (finite and boundary elements) and in the nineties, the scope further widened with the development of active control strategies. During the last decade, the group's expertise in dynamic analysis was further exploited in the context of model based system engineering of smart products and their manufacturing. Today, noise and vibration issues remain a major challenge, not only in the development of high-tech products, processes and systems, but also for the health
of people and the well-being of society, for sustainable environment and energy supply, and for safe and comfortable mobility. As such, the KU Leuven research group is continuously challenged to excel and innovate helping to build tomorrow's society. Industrial relevance and advanced applications have always been major drivers in our strategy. LMS International, now Siemens Industry Software NV (SISW), was established in 1979 as one of the first spin-off companies of KU Leuven and is now a global leader in dynamic testing and mechatronic simulation. Testimony to this industrial relevance also is the long list research projects, ranging from fundamental research over applied research to prototyping and demonstration projects . Another important element in the group's strategy is dissemination. Apart from publishing in relevant international peer reviewed journals and at scientific and industrial conferences , since 1975 the research group organises the yearly ISMA and ISAAC courses and
the biennial ISMA conference on Noise & Vibration engineering, attracting more than 600 participants from industry and academia, and with full conference proceedings listed on the ISI Thompson list (

PhD Description:

Newlightweight material system for building acoustics are often complex structuresof which the material properties are hard to characterize. Besides, often thosecomplex structures would require a too high level of detail to be used innumerical simulation packages. Recently, dispersion based techniques come tothe fore as a possible characterization tool of material systems. Usingmeasurements and numerical routines such as Inhomogeneous Wave Correlation orthe Spatial LAplace Transform for COmplex Wavenumber recovery, experimentallybased dispersion curves can be obtained. By fitting numerically generateddispersion curves with the experimentally obtained one, homogenized materialproperties can be identified, quantifying the complex structure. This approachwill be further developed and tested for common building acoustic applications,also giving an indication on the validity of the homogenized model.

Project background:

Toensure a healthy environment for people living and working in buildings,research and engineering in the area of building acoustics is essential.Developments in modern building concepts, such as sustainable low-energyconsuming buildings, buildings with lightweight materials and open plan workingenvironments, as well as the need to build in extremely noisy areas, requireinvolvement of acoustic experts in order to successfully (re)design buildingswithout negatively impacting upon people's health and well-being. Taking upcurrent and future acoustic challenges requires innovative solutions based on athorough understanding and mastering of modern methods and tools, as well as aholistic acoustic approach involving acoustic design, products and subjectiveevaluation. However, in the complex field of building acoustics, researchactivities typically are not holistic and have become slightly marginalised. Asa consequence, there is a lack of building acoustics experts. To
meet thefuture acoustic needs of the built environment, Acoutect is constructed aroundtwo objectives:

1. Establish a long-lastingEuropean-wide training programme on building acoustics.

2. Launch an innovative research programme.

Withthese objectives, Acoutect will equip ESRs with skills to ensure acousticquality of modern and future building concepts, and with excellent perspectivesfor a career in industry or academia within the area of building acoustics. Thetraining and supervision to reach these objectives is offered by the Acoutectconsortium.


Acoutectis a European project running from January 2017 until December 2020. Thisproject has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 researchand innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreementnumber 721536.

Acoutectmarries "Acoustics" and "Architect" and responds to the important role thatAcousticians have in the design of modern buildings. The overarching aim ofAcoutect is to set up a PhD training network on building acoustics and react tothe acoustic challenges stemming from modern building concepts to deliversustainable indoor environments with respect to health and well-being. Thecoordinator of the project is Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

Withinthis project we are seeking an early-stage researcher (ESR) for a duration of 8.47month to join the Noise and Vibration Research Group at the KU LeuvenMechanical Engineering Department in Belgium. KU Leuven commits to look foradditional funding to complete a full PhD.

Allcandidates must be fluent in spoken and written English. The R&D is highlymultidisciplinary. An ideal candidate has an M.Sc. in engineering (e.g. (vibro-)acoustics,solid-mechanics, building physics, physics).

* Knowledge of numerical modelling.programming languages and signal processing is a strong advantage.
* Candidates get the opportunity toperform this work as part of a PhD study.
* All members of the network areequal opportunity employers, both female and male candidates are invited toapply.

Eligibility criteria:

* Theapplicant may be of any nationality.
* Theapplicant shall at the time of recruitment be in the first four years ofhis/her research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. This ismeasured from the date when the applicant obtained the degree, which wouldformally entitle him/her to register as PhD candidate.
* Theapplicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity in thecountry of the host institute for more than 12 months in the 3 yearsimmediately prior to the recruitment.

Thehost organisation will appoint the successful applicant under an employmentcontract with a very competitive salary according to EU regulation, includingsocial security. The duration of the contract is, at least, 36 months. Thefellow is expected to join their host organizations starting from July 2017(estimated time). The salary is composed from the following allowancesdepending on the personal status of each fellow (see more details at

· Living allowance: Monthly rate of€3,110. This amount includes the monthly salary for the fellow before any deductions(contributions of both employers and employees to social security, pension,taxation, voluntary deductions, etc).

· Mobility Allowance: Monthly rate of€600. Contributes to the expenses of the researcher caused by the mobility.

· Family Allowance: Monthly rate of€500. For all the recruited fellows who have family at the time of therecruitment.

Additionalfunding for participation to courses, workshops, international conferences,etc. is ensured.

Development of dispersion-based material characterization algorithms for building acoustic applications

KU Leuven, Leuven
Project Manager
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