Vacancy No. 17-2021

PhD Position (f/m/d): “Metallic corrosion at the steel/bentonite interface under anoxic and water saturated conditions”

Job description

The disposal in stable underground geological formations is a generally accepted strategy for dealing with long-lived high-level nuclear waste. During the evolution of such a repository, ground water may eventually move through the natural and engineered barriers and contact the waste packages, which will start corroding. The involved corrosion and alteration processes are highly dependent on the compositions of both the ground water and the canister material. For the Safety Case of such a repository, dedicated experiments in the laboratory are needed to understand processes occurring under repository-relevant conditions. In this context, a detailed understanding of corrosion mechanisms and rates for specific canister materials and scenarios are required.

The goal of the PhD Thesis is to conduct corrosion experiments on metallic coupons in contact with clay minerals under anoxic and water saturated conditions. Experiments will be designed and conducted using candidate canister materials, which are of potential interest in nuclear waste disposal. At the end of the contact time, the surface morphology of the samples will be characterized and the weight loss determined. In addition, the chemical and mineralogical nature of the corrosion and alteration products will be identified and quantified by application of complementary modern analytical tools, using the state-of-the-art equipment available at KIT-INE. The work includes working in inert gas glove boxes and in the controlled area. Data and scientific process understanding obtained within this project will be made available to improve the Safety Cases of deep geological repositories. This PhD study is embedded within an international project aiming at better understanding corrosion processes occurring at the canister/bentonite interface in the context of nuclear waste disposal.

Personal qualification

The candidate is expected to hold a Master degree in chemistry, geochemistry, applied geoscience or closely related fields in natural sciences. The candidate is expected to have a very good command of English language both in spoken and written form. Knowledge of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques is considered an asset.

Organizational unit

Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal (INE)

Starting date

01.09.2021 or slightly later.

Contract duration

limited to 3 years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Dr. Marcus Altmaier, email: or Dr. Nicolas Finck, email:


Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 17-2021.
Personnel support is provided by 

Ms Ratzel
phone: +49 721 608-25544,

Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

Recognized severely disabled persons will be preferred if they are equally qualified.