PhD - Super fluent pipes  Water distribution with ultralow fluid resistance

PhD - Super fluent pipes Water distribution with ultralow fluid resistance

Netherlands 17 Jun 2021


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State University
Host Country
17 Jun 2021
Study level
Opportunity type
Opportunity funding
Full funding
Eligible Countries
This opportunity is destined for all countries
Eligible Region
All Regions


Ground or surface water is purified to drinking water and supplied to households via the water network mains. The water network is considered as the final water quality process. The water quality can improve due to settlement of particles but it can also decrease due to interaction with a pipes wall (e.g. corroded/iron particles or leached cement particles) and up whirling of sediment when the flow suddenly increases. Lastly the water quality may decrease due to microbial growth and the higher the resistance in a pipe, or in the water network in general, the more likely microbial growth will occur. Water quality deterioration can also occur due to stagnated water in areas where there is limited to no flow. Especially with the higher temperatures expected in future this is a reason for concern.

The resistance in the water network can be the result of a (relatively) high wall roughness and obstacles in the network; e.g. valves, hydrant, bends, crossings. Water companies in the Netherlands use pumps to overcome this resistance and to supply drinking water with enough pressure to all customers. The pump energy required is the main energy use of a water company. The objective of this research project is to develop knowledge how to develop a very low resistance transport system to enable the transport of drinking water in more efficient ways. The main benefits gained from this: on one hand lower pumping energy would be needed, and on the other hand this opens up the possibility for smaller distribution systems, carrying less water at higher transport speeds, increasing water quality.

Research Challenge

The main challenge is to develop a fundamental understanding of, and engineering design strategy for, the interior surface of a pipeline to enable for the reduction of energy losses and pipeline maintenance.

First of all, the main sources of energy loss in water distribution networks need to be determined and which governing physical aspects determining the role of the surface topography on wall slip are the underlying reason for these. Once identified, to which extent can they be reduced by surface modification? And which methods are most suiteable and offer the greatest potential for providing a sustainable solution to increasing wall slip in PVC drinking water pipes? Research towards material science is a large part in this project. The main material is envisioned polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a commonly used material in water distribution. Methods to pattern this material in micro and nano scale will be investigated both theoretically and experimentally.


We are looking for an excellent, creative and enthusiastic candidate with a sound theoretical background in Mechanical Engineering or a similar topic at academic level, good experience with experimental set-ups and good communication skills, at least in English and preferably also in Dutch.


The research on drink water and all related topics is organized by the Centre of Excellence for Water (Wetsus), located in Leeuwarden. The University of Twente participates in this research, collaborating with a number of water companies. Although your main working place will be at Wetsus, Leeuwarden, it is envisioned that you bring a part of the research at the university of Twente.

The research project is part of the Wetsus research theme Smart Water Grids

The following companies are part of the theme: Acquaint, Brabant Water, Evides, PWN, Vitens, Wavin.

Promotor: M.B. de Rooij, Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET), Surface Technology and Tribology (STT) University of Twente.

Wetsus supervisors: Doekle Yntema

For more information contact


Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

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