PhD position at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgian Nuclear Research Center and Paul Scherrer Institute

In support of the research programme related to the safe disposal of nuclear waste, KU Leuven, SCK•CEN and PSI are looking for a PhD candidate for following topic:

Diffusion of gases in desaturated clay-based materials

The main aim of the PhD is to investigate how desaturation influences the diffusive properties of the samples for gases. This will be accomplished by performing diffusion experiments on different clay-rich materials (e.g. Boom Clay, Opalinus Clay, bentonite, sand-bentonite mixtures, …) at different degrees of saturation (but still highly saturated to avoid a continuous gas pathway), using different gases (He, Ne, CH4, C2H6). Different methods to perform transport experiments under desaturated conditions exist (e.g. osmosis method, saturated salt method …), but none of them has been used to measure diffusivity of dissolved gases. Diffusivity data will be complemented with a full petrophysical characterisation of all samples in order to assess the effect of changing petrophysical properties on diffusivity, and to compare the observations to those of fully saturated samples. The PhD will be executed in the international context of the EC-EURAD project, with close collaboration between SCK-CEN and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI, CH) and other partners involved in EURAD.

More information on the topic & how to apply can be found in this link

For further details, please contact Dr. Elke Jacops (

Deadline for application is March 27, 2019.