Type dienstverband:
Internship and graduation project
Uren per week:
Fulltime – 40

Internship | Tuning the melting trajectory of PCM’s for energy storage

About this position

Come to the forefront of the energy transition by developing novel energy storage material! Accelerate the progress by advancing our understanding of salts. The mismatch between (renewable) energy generation and demand could be resolved by introducing energy storage systems. In the built environment most of the energy is consumed in the form of heating and cooling. Therefore, it is beneficial to store excess energy until energy deficient times. To do so in a compact form, phase change materials (PCMs) based on salt hydrates are potential candidates. These materials can store thermal energy in the melting transition: charging happens by melting and discharging by solidification/crystallization. As most of the available PCMs have been developed for temperature control, they have been designed to have a sharp melting transition. However, in the built environment charging must happen at highly variable temperatures during the year. Therefore, PCMs with broad melting transitions are required. The aim of this project is to develop PCMs with a well-defined melting trajectory with a tunable width. As such the approach of this project differs from the classical approach to design materials with sharp transitions, which means that fundamental understanding of the melting trajectory is needed.

What will be your role?

In this project the thermal properties of salt based PCMs and their composites will be investigated. The focus will be on screening materials, understanding of the statistical-thermodynamic background of melting trajectories and tuning these trajectories by adapting the composition.

The project will consist of three parts. First you will start with a literature study where you will map out the pre-existing knowledge on inorganic PCM composites and melting trajectories. Second, based on that, you will select and design a series of composites that you will experimentally test after which you will iteratively adapt the PCM composition. Third, you will design a method to test the most promising material on a larger scale (a few grams compared to milligrams in the second step). This can be supplemented with calculations or simulations in, for example, COMSOL, to further guide the material optimization process. The primary techniques you will use during the initial screening are differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). They will be coupled with other analytical techniques. The work will be executed in close collaboration with the Applied Physics department at TU Eindhoven.

Minimum project duration is 6 months, starting as soon as possible. A more detailed plan will be drafted together with the academic supervisor. At TNO, you will work in the Materials Solutions Department in Eindhoven.

What we expect from you

  • You are in the final stage of your masters degree and are looking for a graduation project.
  • A background in physics, chemistry, material science or chemical engineering. Practical experience in lab environment and hands-on skills are preferable.
  • Interest in the energy transition.
  • High motivation, with a curious nature and a taste for problem-solving.
  • Ability to work autonomously within a small team and good social skills to get the information you need from the most knowledgeable people around you.
  • Good communication skills in English.

What you'll get in return

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

TNO as an employer

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.

At TNO we encourage an inclusive work environment, where you can be yourself. Whatever your story and whatever unique qualities you bring to the table. It is by combining our unique strengths and perspectives that we are able to develop innovations that make a real difference in society. Want to know more? Read what steps we are taking in the area of diversity and inclusion.

The selection process

After the first CV selection, the application process will be conducted by the concerning department. TNO will provide a suitable internship agreement. If you have any questions about this vacancy, you can contact the contact person mentioned below.

Students must reside in the Netherlands before the start and also throughout the internship or graduation project at TNO.

Has this job opening sparked your interest?

Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.