Rubber expert Jacques Noordermeer officially takes leave of the University of Twente
31 October 2012
On Wednesday 31 October, Prof. Jacques Noordermeer will deliver his farewell speech at the University of Twente. Prof. Noordermeer is currently chairman of the Elastomer Technology and Engineering department. His pioneering work in the field of rubber technology has gained him international renown. Throughout his career he has received prestigious international awards for his research into energy efficient tyres. This involved studying the interaction between tyres and the road surface.
Tyres make an important contribution to reducing fuel consumption. Prof. Noordermeer states that “It is a challenging discipline. On the one hand, you want the tyre’s rolling resistance to be as low as possible. Less resistance means lower fuel consumption. At the same time, motorists need tyres that have a good grip on the road. It is these conflicting requirements that make this area of research all the more interesting.”
Prof. Noordermeer feels that there is too little interest in rubber technology in international circles. He points out that “The dominant theme of the 21st century is energy savings. In this context, everyone is always talking about harnessing new, renewable energy sources, but few realise the importance of cutting fuel consumption. Yet this is an area in which there are enormous gains to be made. Fortunately there is also some good news to report. The new European tyre-labelling system will be launched on 1 November. This means that, from then on, all tyres will have an energy label.”
Prof. Noordermeer’s Elastomer Technology & Engineering department has two primary focuses. Aside from the development of energy-efficient tyres, the department also focuses on the recycling of old tyres. Prof. Noordermeer points out that “Throughout the world, 800 million tyres are discarded each year. Nobody seems to be the least bit worried about this. In the face of this seeming apathy, we want to develop a technology that will make it possible for about 35% of the material in old tyres to be used to make new ones.”
Prizes and awards
In recent years, Prof. Noordermeer has received major national and international prizes and awards. In 1999, for instance, he received the Technical Award of the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP). In 2006, he was awarded the International Rubber Conference Organization’s (IRCO) Gold Medal. In 2010, he received the George S. Whitby Award from the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society. This prestigious prize is awarded annually to outstanding teachers and researchers in the field of rubber technology. The Award’s panel examines the quality not only of candidates’ research, but also of their teaching. In 2011, as the winner of the five-yearly election held by the Dutch Association for Materials Science, he was named Dutch Master of Materials.
Prof. Noordermeer can look back on two successful careers. He combined his career in industry with an academic career. Until last June, he worked for DSM. Since 1995, he has also worked as a professor at the University of Twente. He was initially appointed to work at the university for one to two days a week. However, from the year 2000 onwards he worked at the University of Twente four days a week and one day a week at DSM. After his retirement, the professor will provisionally continue working at the university for two days a week.
Prof. Noordermeer’s farewell speech on Wednesday 31 October will mark the end of his official career at the University of Twente. The farewell speech will take place as part of a symposium at which internationally renowned researchers will speak.