On the use of a Phase Field method for Damage coupled with Crystal Plasticity

Internship 6 months



Large company12K employeesMaterials

Published on February 14, 2024

  • Contract

    Internship 6 months

  • Location


  • Start date

    April 2024

  • Study level

    Master level or equivalent

  • Remote working

    No remote working

On the use of a Phase Field method for Damage coupled with Crystal Plasticity for a better understanding of the role of texture and intermetallic particles on bending performance of  Al alloys for automotive (Master Thesis)

Key words: 6xxx aluminium alloys, Automotive outer panels, bending test, Crystallographic texture, Crystal plasticity simulations, Phase field Damage model, DAMASK

Location: the student will be employed and hosted by MPIE, Düsseldorf (Germany)


Due to its low density, aluminium (Al) is a key material for sustainability as it allows lightweighting. 

In order to decrease the CO2 emissions associated with its production, it is required to massively use recycled aluminium, meaning remelting Al scrap to make new ingots. However, switching from primary synthesis (bauxite reduction) to secondary synthesis (scrap melting) often leads to increasing impurities, the main one being iron in aluminium. Such contaminants may impact the performance of the current alloys in terms of ductility/formability, especially on sharp edges. 

It is the case of automotive outer panels that are bent around the inner part after stamping. The project of master thesis is linked to microstructure optimization, and especially crystallographic texture (meaning grain orientations and their spatial arrangement) and intermetallic particles. 

Thus, it is key to identify how microstructure could be tuned to maintain current product performance, while increasing recycled content. 

For that, Constellium C-TEC is working with the Max-Planck-Institute für Eisenforschung (Düsseldorf, team of Pr. Franz Roters) who has developed an open-source software, Damask, allowing to model the mechanical behavior of grains aggregates under different loading types. More recently, damage has been integrated within the crystal plasticity calculations thanks to a phase field method. 

The goal of this master thesis would be to test this new modeling method to predict damage development in representative microstructures of aluminium alloys with different impurity contents.


The objective of the project is thus to compute damage evolution at the grain scale of ductile materials such as Al alloys and to evaluate the possibility of extension of this methodology to higher scales.

The project has several components:

Literature review to understand how the Phase Field method works and highlight research items having already tackled the application of this method for ductile materials.

Literature review to identify failure mechanisms in bending, analyze existing results and transposing these results to define a representative loading to apply at the grain scale.

Using Damask software to achieve the objective

Study the impact of the texture and intermetallic-related features (size, morphology, spatial distribution) on the response

Analysis and synthesis of the results, report writing and presentation to the team

The position will be located at the research institute (MPIE, Düsseldorf) within an international team of students and researchers under the supervision of Franz Roters. MPIE is a cutting-edge research laboratory with extensive experience in both materials modelling and characterization, used to tackle complex challenges in relation with industrial partners. Regular contact with Constellium research engineers with expertise in metallurgy and mechanics together with some stays at the industrial research center in France will be organized.

Education level: Engineering school or Master of Science

Competencies (technical & soft skills requirements):

  • Good knowledge in mechanics, physical metallurgy and in crystal plasticity (preferable)
  • Motivation for modeling work, previous FE modeling experience would be a plus 
  • Proficiency in Python to post-treat and analyze a significant amount of data 
  • Serious, autonomy, critical mind and creativity 
  • Candidate interested in research and development (possibility to pursue with a PhD) 
  • Good English level compulsory, both written and spoken. German language skill is a strong plus.

Application deadline

Not given

Job Category

Energy, Materials & Mechanical engineering

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