Job details

Place of work

INSITUTE OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY PAS Research group no. 10 „Soft Condensed Matter”

Funding institution


Project description

Project title, type and project number

SONATA 18 Project No. 2022/47/D/ST3/01162 entitled “Shrinking, cracking and flowing of porous media undergoing thermal and chemical conversion. Design and implementation of novel OpenFOAM library.” 22/2024

Project leader

dr Paweł Jan Żuk


Nutrient transport in tumours, forest wildfires and cave formation may seem unrelated, but all are instances of chemical conversion of porous media. A liquid or gas (and sometimes both) penetrates the solid structure, and they undergo mechanical, thermal and chemical interactions, which modify the flowing phase(s) and the solid. We focus on processes, which include mechanical, thermal and chemical interactions. Examples include pyrolysis, gasification and smouldering, among others. They are at the core of environmental phenomena like wildfires and industrial processes like waste utilization and syngas production. During conversion, porous media undergo structural evolution intrinsic to the process. A familiar example is a burning fire match. The wooden stick exposed to the high temperature undergoes smouldering and expels volatiles that support fire. The gas transports the matter out of the wooden stick and influences the material’s structure and tensions inside. As a result, the fire match changes visually. It shrinks, twists, cracks and often breaks during the process. The remaining charcoal and ashes are very different from what they were initially.

Recently, PI developed the porousGasificationFOAM library for modelling of thermal and chemical conversion of porous media. It is based on the OpenFOAM library, a C++, open-source environment for solving

Partial Differential Equations using the Finite Volume Method. The porousGasificationFOAM extends OpenFOAM’s capabilities to model, e.g., pyrolysis, gasification and smouldering of porous media that occupy a fixed volume in space.It neglects the motion of the porous bed, which is an important component in the process. The addition of the bed motion is a significant step forward in the functionality, applicability and accuracy of the porousGasificationFOAM library. It opens new environmental and industrial fields for research. It does so by enabling the transition from the laboratory scale problems, where motion can be neglected (e.g., pyrolysis and gasification of a cm-size pellet), to environmentally and industrially relevant scales (pyrolysis and gasification of peat).

The project consists of three stages. The first one is the data curation for model design and validation. PI’s collaborators performed experiments relevant to the various types of porous media motion: pyrolysis and gasification of an elongated wooden structure, pyrolysis and gasification in an updraft vertical gasifier, smouldering front propagation through a horizontal peat bed. The data will guide the fundamental research constituting the second part of the project: derivation of physical models of porous media shrinkage, cracking and flow and their implementation within OpenFOAM. The third part includes thorough testing and validation of the proposed models against experimental data from collaborators and literature.

Job description

Number of vacancies


Key responsibilities include

The post-doc is expected to independently design and develop OpenFOAM computational library regarding solid phase motion during thermal and chemical conversion of porous media.


- get familiar with requirements posed by experimental data and practical applications of the library

- design of the library based on key requirements

- implement the library

- test and prepare the release version of the library

- prepare manuscripts, code and necessary data for publication

- manage the project's tasks for its successful completion

- to disseminate of research results at project meetings, in peer-reviewed journals and at international conferences.


Position in the project

POST DOC position

Job type

• Type of contract: temporary • Status: full-time employment • Hours Per Week: 40


Around 11.000 PLN gross

Position starts on


Maximum planned period of contract/stipend agreement

12 months with possible extension for another 18 months (30 months in total)

We offer

We offer a post-doctoral position (full-time employment) in the Institute of Physical Chemistry PAS with a gross salary of around 11.000 PLN per month financed from the NCN SONATA 18 Project No. 2022/47/D/ST3/01162 100% of the work time of Postdoc will be devoted to the realization of the proposed project.

Career development prospects at IPC PAS

The succesful candidate will learn and participate in complete production cycle of a scientific computational library. They will learn to formulate a computational problem from discussions with project partners that work with experimental setups in industry and envioronmental science. They will learn to frame those with precise mathematical and physical models. They will identify key challenges and opprotunities to overcome them with the OpenFOAM library written in C++ for solving Partial Differential Equations with the Finite Volume Method. They will test their designs and implementations against the real experimental data. They will learn to prepare software release oriented for user satisfaction in terms of usability and accesibility.

The succesful candidate will finish the project with knowledge and experience valuable in academia and in industry.

The successful candidate will be eligible for all programs at the IPC PAS, including the IPC PAS Young Scientists competition and the IPC PAS Young Scientists Mobility competition.

Institute provides an opportunity to participate in ERASMUS+ programme.


Scientific discipline

Energy Technology/Physical Chemistry

Scientific profile of a candidate

Recognised Researcher (R2)


1.  PhD degree in chemical, physical or computational sciences, obtained in the year of employment in the project or within 7 years before 1 January of the year of employment in the project. For researchers with multiple PhDs, the date of the first PhD award is deemed the reference date. Extension might apply according to National Science Centre, Poland, rules.

2.  Publication record and experience in research.

3.  Good knowledge of C++, which allows for efficient understanding of written code and implementation of novel ideas.

4. Knowledge of partial differential equations, which allows to express and discuss novel physical ideas in that form.

5. Knowledge of basic ideas in continuum mechanics, thermodynamics and chemistry.

6. Knowledge of basic computational algorithms and data structures.

7. Previous experience with OpenFOAM.

8 . Ability to work independently as well as in a group.

9.  Ability to communicate fluently in English (written and spoken).

10. Motivation to communicate with experts from other fields of research.

11. Strong motivation to work and solve scientific problems requiring creativity, analytical and synthetic thinking.

Key assessment criteria

The Recruitment Commission will take into account the following criteria:

  • competencies for specific tasks in the research project
  • knowledge of OpenFOAM environment and C++
  • knowledge of partial differential equations in application to continuum mechanics
  • knowledge of basic algorithms and data structures
  • previous scientific achievements and awards and distinctions resulting from the conducted research
  • satisfactory knowledge of points a)-d) can be shown also by solving the short problem in OpenFOAM, which can be found at my github repository together with submission guidelines:
Required documents

  • employment application;
  • professional curriculum vitae;
  • a list of scientific achievements (publications, patents, conference presentations and research projects);
  • PhD certificate or other document confirming PhD degree[AM1] ;
  • letter of intent;
  • at least one letter of recommendation written by academics;

Recruitment procedure

The application deadline is on the 31.08.2024 12:00 PL time[AM1] 

• Top candidates can be invited for an online or in-person interview. We reserve the right to contact and reply to only selected candidates.

• The position will be offered to the person with the highest evaluation by the Recruitment Committee.

• The results of the recruitment are planned to be announced on the 17.09.2024.

• Employment will take place in accordance with the provisions of the competition documentation of the National Science Center (NSC) for the SONATA 18 and Employment policy of the Institute of Physical Chemistry PAS .

• The incomplete applications may not be considered.

• The results of the competition are made public.

• Candidates who have been issued a negative opinion by the Competition Committee or candidates not selected for employment have the right to appeal against the results of the evaluation. The appeal shall be lodged with the Director of the Institute within 7 days from the date of receipt of the appropriate information. The decision of the Director of the Institute shall be final.

• If the top candidate does not sign the contract due to the resignation, we reserve the right to choose the next candidate from the ranking list.

Additional information

Candidate needs to meet formal requirements:

their PhD degree has been awarded by another institution than the one planned to employ them at this post or they have completed a continuous and evidenced post-doctoral fellowship of at least 10 months in another institution than the host institution for the project and in another country than the one in which they have been conferred a PhD degree

when the remuneration is paid, they will be receiving no remuneration from the funds allocated as direct costs under research projects funded in NCN calls;

when the remuneration is paid, they will be receiving no remuneration from another employer pursuant to an employment contract, including an employer with registered office outside of Poland; and

when the remuneration is paid, they will be receiving no pension under the social insurance scheme

they did not have the principal investigator as their research supervisor or auxiliary supervisor of their PhD dissertation;[AM1] 

How to Apply: Send application directly to;

IMPORTANT! email subject: “Recruitment no.22/2024”

(emails without this number will not be considered)


A post-doc type post is a full-time post, scheduled by the project’s principal investigator for a person who has been conferred a PhD degree in the year of employment in the project or within 7 years before 1 January of the year of employment in the project. This period may be extended by a time of long-term (in excess of 90 days) documented sick leaves or rehabilitation leaves granted on account of being unfit to work. In addition, the period may be extended by the number of months of a child care leave granted pursuant to the Labour Code and in the case of women, by 18 months for every child born or adopted, whichever manner of accounting for career breaks is preferable.


Application deadline

31.08.2024 12:00

Deadline for the settlement of the competition


Send the application via the "Apply to the position" button, or to with the title 22/2024.

Apply to the position

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Date of announcement: 20.05.2024

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