View job on Handshake

Requisition Id 7974 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Surface Engineering and Tribiology Group in the Materials Sciences and Techology Division (MSTD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


The Postdoctoral Research Associate will focus on development of advanced lubricants and investigation of tribochemical interactions between lubricants and contact surfaces.  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 of eco-friendly ionic liquid-containing lubricants and investigation of the wear and corrosion behavior in molten salt lubrication. Given that lubrication truly is an interdisciplinary area, you are expected to gain research experience with a unique combination of (i) organic development, (ii) chemical analysis and surface characterization, (iii) tribological and tribocorrosion testing, and (iv) lubrication modeling. 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: 

  • Develop environmentally-friendly ionic liquids as lubricant additives
  • Investigate the wear and corrosion behavior in molten salt lubrication
  • Conduct bench tribological and tribocorrosion tests in controlled environments
  • Conduct chemical analysis of ionic liquids and lubricants as synthesized and after tribological and tribocorrosion tests
  • Conduct microstructural, compositional, and mechanical characterizations of the materials and surfaces before and after the tribological and tribocorrosion tests
  • Understand tribochemical interactions between the lubricant and contact surfaces via chemical analysis and surface characterization
  • 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 PhD in Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in experimental tribology
  • Experience in development and application of lubricants
  • Familiarity with surface characterization and chemical analysis tools
  • Experience in fluid heat transfer is a plus
  • Excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • 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


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


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


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


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.