Job Information

Sandia National Laboratories Postdoctoral Appointee - Mechanical/Thermal in Livermore, California

Posting Duration:

This posting will be open for application submissions for a minimum of seven (7) calendar days, including the ‘posting date’. Sandia reserves the right to extend the posting date at any time.

What Your Job Will Be Like:

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Appointee/Mechanical or Aeronautical Engineer (or similar) who has recently earned their Ph.D. to collaborate with staff on two projects. The first is the development of a unique hydrogen compressor using metal hydrides. Metal hydride hydrogen compression utilizes a reversible heat-driven interaction of a hydride-forming metal, alloy or intermetallic compound with hydrogen gas to form the metal hydride phase and is a promising process for hydrogen energy applications. The project goal is to leverage an existing design for a two-stage metal hydride hydrogen gas compressor and adapt to a new customer’s needs. The customer requires a system to compress from a pressure of 30 bar delivering high purity H2 gas at outlet pressures ≥ 875 bar for fueling of fuel cell vehicles. The individual will be expected to take part in the evaluation and modification of the design of the metal hydride compressor including the metal hydride beds, heat exchange system, and hydrogen supply and delivery manifold. Tasks will also include design of test equipment to prove out the performance of the design.

The second project is the design of a prototype for a hybridized solar-powered thermochemical-electrochemical water splitting process that produces green hydrogen. A unique process using liquid metal alloys has been developed at Sandia for this technology. The individual would be tasked with designing prototype reactor vessels to demonstrate proof-of-concept at laboratory scale, and use these vessels to acquire engineering data for upscaling the technology. The design involves pressure and high temperature (up to 600 °C) requiring pressure vessel design skills as well as thermal management knowledge/expertise. The individual would work with Sandia scientists and colleagues that developed the process to understand criteria and constraints for the design.

The work will include mentorship by a senior Sandia engineer, while the individual will be provided significant autonomy in their work.

Day to day activities may include the following:

  • Heat transfer analysis of a porous metal hydride bed including conductivity enhancement strategies

  • Pressure vessel design for MAWP up to 900 bar

  • System-level heat and mass transfer simulations using Matlab/Simulink

  • Design using CAD (PTC Creo or SolidWorks)

  • Developing specifications based on requirements and finding solutions to meet them

  • Thermal and fluids analysis

  • Communication of your findings to colleagues and customers through presentations, and technical reports, and potentially journal publications.

Qualifications We Require:

  • A PhD in mechanical or aeronautical engineering, or a related field

  • Experience designing and carrying out experiments with a focus on heat transfer and thermal management

  • Experience with mechanical design and thermal analysis

  • A record of first-author or co-authored scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences.

Qualifications We Desire:

  • Proficiency in CAD (Creo or SolidWorks)

  • Matlab/Simulink coding experience.

  • Experience with hydrogen pressure systems

  • Demonstrated innovation ability or experience, from planning to delivery of results.

  • Collaborative work habits, including ability to efficiently leverage available expertise.

  • Inclusive research approach; Ability to work with a diverse group of scientists and engineers.

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.

About Our Team:

Sandia/California's Thermal/Fluid Science and Engineering Department is a diverse multidisciplinary community of engineers and researchers who specialize in fluid mechanics and heat and mass transfer. The work mix in the group includes theory and modeling, scientific and high-performance computing, and applied engineering analysis of experiments and mechanical designs. The group plays two primary roles in science-based engineering at Sandia: (1) developing new computational methods, capabilities and tools to describe fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermal response; (2) performing computational analysis to predict the design performance of engineered systems in defense, energy, and industry applications. Recent activities within the group include: heat transfer and fluid dynamics modeling and analysis for complex multi-material systems, porous media reacting flow, multi-phase flow, turbulent heat transfer, fire and combustion, hydrogen storage and safety technology, wind energy modeling and technology development, geothermal energy technology, contributions to emerging capability and development of the Sandia’s climate change initiatives and strategy, and applied uncertainty quantification and verification and validation for all of these application areas.

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide

  • Extraordinary co-workers

  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world

  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities

  • Flexible work arrangements for many positions include 9/80 (work 80 hours every two weeks, with every other Friday off) and 4/10 (work 4 ten-hour days each week) compressed workweeks, part-time work, and telecommuting (a mix of onsite work and working from home)

  • Generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:*These benefits vary by job classification.

Security Clearance:

This position does not currently require a Department of Energy (DOE) security clearance.

Sandia will conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Furthermore, employees in New Mexico need to pass a U.S. Air Force background screen for access to Kirtland Air Force Base. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause access to be denied or terminated, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.

If hired without a clearance and it subsequently becomes necessary to obtain and maintain one for the position, or you bid on positions that require a clearance, a pre-processing background review may be conducted prior to a required federal background investigation. Applicants for a DOE security clearance need to be U.S. citizens. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Members of the workforce (MOWs) hired at Sandia who require uncleared access for greater than 179 days during their employment, are required to go through the Uncleared Personal Identity Verification (UPIV) process. Access includes physical and/or cyber (logical) access, as well as remote access to any NNSA information technology (IT) systems. UPIV requirements are not applicable to individuals who require a DOE personnel security clearance for the performance of their SNL employment or to foreign nationals. The UPIV process will include the completion of a USAccess Enrollment, SF-85 (Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions) and OF-306 (Declaration of for Federal Employment). An unfavorable UPIV determination will result in immediate retrieval of the SNL issued badge, removal of cyber (logical) access and/or removal from SNL subcontract. All MOWs may appeal the unfavorable UPIV determination to DOE/NNSA immediately. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the MOW may try to go through the UPIV process one year after the decision date.


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

Position Information:

This postdoctoral position is a temporary position for up to one year, which may be renewed at Sandia's discretion up to five additional years. The PhD must have been conferred within five years prior to employment.

Individuals in postdoctoral positions may bid on regular Sandia positions as internal candidates, and in some cases may be converted to regular career positions during their term if warranted by ongoing operational needs, continuing availability of funds, and satisfactory job performance.

Job ID: 685835