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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Advanced Polymer Composite Processing and Design

Date: Sep 13, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6845 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Group in the Manufacturing Science Division (MSD), Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in advanced composite manufacturing with expertise in polymer processing, and mold/part designs related to composite materials with relevant experience in an industrial manufacturing setting. The candidate will conduct research on: (1) plastic and composite part design and optimization, (2) design and manufacturing of advanced tooling for composite manufacturing, (3) processing of novel composite systems using a variety of methods, such as injection molding, extrusion processes, compression molding, additive manufacturing, etc., and (4) develop smart manufacturing platforms for composites manufacturing through automation/sensor integration and application of advanced data analytic techniques. The candidate will be expected to simultaneously execute multiple projects, contribute to development of new initiatives in their area, interact with ORNL staff, industry, and academic partners.


Our research team carries out high quality R&D focused on the advanced composite manufacturing for applications in aerospace, automotive, and renewable energy industries, as well as trending areas of international composite research in material science, mechanical engineering, and automation. As part of our research team, the candidate will develop novel molding and processing techniques for high rate and low cycle time polymer and composite manufacturing processes. The candidate must be familiar with tool design and fabrication concepts and must have experience in composite manufacturing techniques especially injection molding and compression molding techniques. The candidate is expected to be familiar with molds and dies manufacturing methods and is expected to implement new advanced manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing, in tool fabrication. The candidate should have familiarity with advanced data analytic tools with an aim of integration of composite processes with Industry 4.0. The candidate will create new connections and maintain existing relationships with industrial and academic collaborators to create innovate, efficient, and advanced polymer and composite manufacturing solutions. The candidate will be expected to simultaneously execute multiple projects, contribute to development of new initiatives in your area, and interact with ORNL staff, industry, and academic partners. The successful candidate will support research in advanced tooling for composite processing, optimization for composite part design and manufacturing, scale-up, and innovation as well as connect with new collaborators to solve current industrial problems; publish original peer-reviewed research articles; and supervise students.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Design and innovate in manufacturing of molds and dies for composite and polymer processing techniques utilizing advanced manufacturing methods
  • Perform composite and polymer processing utilizing extrusion, injection molding, compression molding, etc. of novel material systems
  • Conduct mechanical, thermal, and morphological characterization of novel composite materials
  • Implement advanced data analytics tools for advancement of composite structures design and manufacturing
  • Establish and manage relevant research collaborations and projects with new industrial partners
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Help to support team goals and work with other team members
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical and Chemical Engineering, Polymer Science and Engineering, Chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • A record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or conference presentations


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with molds and dies design and manufacturing for polymer and composite processing techniques
  • Familiarity with advanced manufacturing techniques
  • Experience with and understanding of composite and polymer processing methods
  • Experience and expertise with design tools for composite and polymer structures
  • Understanding of microstructure-composite property relationship and matrix-filler interactions in composites
  • Deep understanding for advanced data analytic tools
  • Experience and expertise with analytical characterization techniques is plus such as DSC, FTIR, TGA, DMA, EDS, XRD, Rheology, electron and optical microscopy
  • Experience with modifying and maintaining industrial composite and polymer processing equipment.
  • Ability to maintain current connections and network within the polymer and composite manufacturing industry
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

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This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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