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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Materials Tribology

Date: Jun 3, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4600 


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will focus on investigating and mitigating the equipment wear experienced in biomass preprocessing.  This position resides in the Materials Processing Group in the Materials Science and Technology Division (MSTD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


As part of our research team, you will work with ORNL’s world-class experts and have access to the state-of-the-art facilities to make contributions to a couple of DOE projects on development and application of advanced materials, coatings, and surface treatments to improve machinery durability and efficiency, with a focus on but not limited to biomass preprocessing and preconversion. Given that tribology truly is an interdisciplinary area, you are expected to gain research experience with a unique combination of (i) coating and surface treatment development, (ii) materials and surface characterization, (iii) bench tribological testing, friction and wear measurement, and data analysis, and (iv) contact interface investigation. In addition to producing high impact publications, you will have opportunities to build a professional network by interacting with our academic and industrial collaborators and presenting at technical conferences, which will get you ready for the future career. In addition to meeting project milestones and producing high impact publications, getting involved in professional societies and contributing to local communities are also highly encouraged.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Identify the wear modes and mechanisms via materials characterization and interface modeling
  • Develop, characterize, and evaluation candidate wear-resistant coatings and surface treatments
  • Conduct bench tribological testing, friction and wear measurement, and data analysis
  • Investigate tribochemical interactions at the critical contact interfaces
  • Correlate between bench testing results and actual component performance
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • 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 Ph.D. in Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or a related discipline completed no more than five years prior to the date of application.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in experimental tribology
  • Experience in development and application of coatings and surface engineering processes
  • Familiarity with materials and surface characterization tools
  • Experience in heat transfer and/or contact mechanics is a plus.
  • Excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate to an international, scientific audience
  • 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


Additional Requirements:

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 up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to  Please include the title of the position in the subject line.


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.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville