PhD opportunities

Sustainability and life cycle of the electric machine, at the heart of the challenges of a low carbon transition

Thesis proposal

Area of expertiseSciences et génie des matériaux
Doctoral SchoolISMME - Ingénierie des Systèmes, Matériaux, Mécanique, Énergétique
SupervisorJOANNES Sebastien
Research unitCentre des Matériaux
ContactSébastien JOANNES
KeywordsWinding wires, Fretting, Fatigue, Life Cycle Analysis
AbstractThe world is going electrified. From our daily mobility, to our industries, or to the equipment in our buildings, many sectors are relying on the electron to turn the page on fossil fuels. At the heart of this great process of electrification is the electric machine, which either acts as a generator, to transform mechanical energy into electricity, or as a motor, to do the opposite.
This thesis topic is one of the first launched by the new TTI.5 Institute (The Transition Institute) of Mines Paris ( The energy efficiency of electrical machines seems to be the key factor from an environmental point of view. Improving this efficiency must start with the most basic, but probably the most important element: the filament windings, which are also the cause of nearly 30% of failures. From material issues (fretting, fatigue) to system performance and environmental impacts (LCA and associated uncertainties), this thesis aims to investigate the most favourable paths for the future of electrical machines, which are set to transform many sectors of our electrical planet.

Context and challenges:
This PhD thesis is in line with the TTI.5 Institute's axis 2, 'An electric planet ?'. The technological trajectory of an electric planet necessarily involves the deployment of more virtuous 'electric machines'. With regard to materials, this thesis will examine the relevance of current choices, but above all of future choices, by looking at what the environmental impact of future machines could be (replacement of copper by carbon fibres, for example). There is a strong link between the material, the efficiency of the system and its environmental impact. Life Cycle Assessment tools are essential to correctly understand this subject and identify levers for improving technological alternatives, as a starting point for a broader eco-design framework. How to take into account the technological, spatial and temporal variability of such systems? How to integrate technological constraints into a more virtuous environment for our new uses and lifestyles? These are all answers that will contribute to the low-carbon transition of our society.
ProfileTypical profile for a thesis at MINES ParisTech: Engineer and / or Master of Science - Good level of general and scientific culture. Good level of knowledge of French (B2 level in french is required) and English. (B2 level in english is required) Good analytical, synthesis, innovation and communication skills. Qualities of adaptability and creativity. Teaching skills. Motivation for research activity. Coherent professional project.

Prerequisite (specific skills for this thesis): An educational background in engineering with a strong foundation in mechanics of materials but also in (eco)design. Multidisciplinary skills in engineering sciences (electrical machines, energy efficiency, LCA) and transport engineering would be a plus.

Applicants should supply the following :
• a detailed resume
• a copy of the identity card or passport
• a covering letter explaining the applicant’s motivation for the position
• detailed exam results
• two references : the name and contact details of at least two people who could be contacted
• to provide an appreciation of the candidate
• Your notes of M1, M2
• level of English equivalent TOEIC
to be sent to
FundingConcours pour un contrat doctoral