See MSc ME Specializations

Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces and Systems

Creating tomorrow’s materials, products, industrial robots and manufacturing processes

Are you a mechanical engineer with a strong interest in the behaviour of materials and systems, used to develop products and manufacturing processes? Are you eager to contribute to the creation of new and optimized materials, products, robots and machinery? Do you want to combine fundamental research with immediate industrial application? If so, the Master’s specialization Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (MS3), one of five tracks you can choose from within our Master’s programme Mechanical Engineering (ME), is the perfect choice for you. 

How can we come to a deeper understanding of the materials involved in creating new products and production processes? How can we map the behaviour of materials, products and systems throughout their entire lifecycle – during production, while in use and following their service life? And how can we use the outcomes of this research to solve the industrial problems of today and tomorrow? These are typical questions you will tackle in the Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems track. 

"The Solids, Surfaces & Systems Master’s track combines fundamental research with immediate industrial application. That is one of the factors that appeals to students taking this track. Many of them have a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, some have done Advanced Technology or another technical Bachelor’s, followed by our pre-Master’s. We also have several female students with a Bachelor’s in Industrial design or Biomedical Engineering who have decided they want a more technical Master’s programme. For all of these students, it’s exciting to be studying at the intersection of science and industry." - Prof. Dr. Ir. André de Boer, Track Coordinator for Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems

What makes this track different? 

Become a specialist in turning material behaviour into industrial gains

The ME track Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems will deepen and broaden your knowledge of the design, analysis and maintenance of machinery, structures, products, robots and production processes. In this sense, it is on a par with the other four ME specializations, Design Production & Management, Maintenance Engineering & Operations, Biomechanical Engineering & Robotics, and Thermal and Fluid Engineering. The main difference is that this track focuses on the behaviour of, and the interaction between, materials, products and processes.

Three separate themes

The MS3 track is your best bet if you want to learn how to put the properties and behaviour of single and interacting materials and systems to maximum industrial use. The track covers four separate themes:

  • Material behaviour;
  • (Production) system behaviour;
  • Robust optimization and control.
  • Robotics

Your tasks as an MS3 specialist can be extremely varied. A few examples: developing computing models and/or control algorithms for the design or optimization of physical machines, robots and systems; designing a test rig for validating new products and identifying the causes of deviations in order to facilitate improvement; finding out how solid material properties influence the feasibility of zero defect production in a certain manufacturing process; or analysing data on the properties of new thermoplastic materials and coming up with solutions for achieving specific functionalities e.g. flexible hinges, such as less weight or friction. 

From macro- to sub-micron scale

The products and manufacturing systems you will be trained to work with are often human-sized ((microscopic to macroscopic). But in the underlying research you will also deal with submicron-size features on material surfaces, for example, in studying frictional properties. 

✓ Expand the mechanical engineering expertise you gained in your Bachelor’s programme

✓ Become a highly valued cross-disciplinary specialist in the mechanics of solids, surfaces and systems 

✓ Learn to apply this specialized knowledge for solving the industrial problems of today and tomorrow

Why this track at the UT?

Study at an internationally leading university of technology 

You can get a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at many universities, both worldwide and here in the Netherlands. Here is what makes the ME programme at the University of Twente, along with this particular specialization, different from others: 

✓ Taking the MS3track at the University of Twente will give you a head start in your career, as it will expose you to some of the very best and latest applied research in this field. For example, our university is a partner of TPRC, the Thermoplastic Composites Research Centre, a globally renowned leader in the advancement of composites technology for large-scale industrial application. Many students taking the MS3 track engage with TPRC and its partners, which include firms such as Boeing, Fokker and Ten Cate.  

✓ The UT was acclaimed in 2017 as the best university of technology in the Netherlands and the university with the highest societal impact. In the overall ranking we joined our country’s top three universities. Not only will you benefit from our campus’ world-class facilities, but also from our pioneering, cross-disciplinary research in many fields. At the UT you will develop a strong engineering mind-set that will equip you to tackle complex industrial challenges.

Track courses

A lot of room for personal preferences

Like most of our Master’s tracks, the ME track Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems offers you a lot of room to make your own choices. You can draw up your own curriculum around the following components:

  • Mandatory ME courses
  • Mandatory specialization courses
  • Electives related to ME, your track or other fields 
  • A full-time internship with an industrial organization in the second year
  • Your graduation project 

The MS3 track offers you the opportunity to engage with a range of specialized research themes:

  • Mechanics of Polymeric Materials 
  • Elastomer Technology and Engineering 
  • Precision Engineering 
  • Laser Processing
  • Production Technology 
  • Nonlinear Solid Mechanics 
  • Structural Dynamics, Acoustics & Control 
  • Dynamics-Based Maintenance 
  • Surface Technology and Tribology 
  • Skin Tribology 
  • Tribology-Based Maintenance

Graduation projects

Combine research with practical application in an industrial setting

As a university that places a strong emphasis on societal impact and valorization, we require our Master’s students to choose graduation projects in which they combine fundamental research with practical application in a real-world setting. In the MS3 Master’s track of Mechanical Engineering, many of these projects are carried out with and for leading industrial organizations, such as Tata SteelFokkerAirbus Defence & Airbus SpaceDemconApollo Tyres, Allseas, Philips, ASML or research institutes like TNO and NLR.

MS3 thesis research possibilities

Because of the high degree of personalization this programme allows for and the broad expertise you will develop in the MS3 track, the range of thesis research topics is huge and can involve any of the themes mentioned above. 

A few examples:

  • the development of lighter, stronger materials for airplane wings by means of fibre realignment;
  • the reduction of noise and friction in certain kinds of machinery;
  • the development of monodiametre drilling wells for the oil and gas industry
  • the installation of pipes along the ocean bed;
  • the recycling of rubber for new applications.

Career prospects

MS3 specialists are in high demand

On completing the Master’s programme Mechanical Engineering you will receive both  Master of Science and Dutch Ir. degree. Employers in industry will attach a lot of value to your specialized expertise. At the same time, you will meet all the requirements of a qualified Mechanical Engineer and be equipped to enter any area of mechanical engineering – not just the area of your Master’s specialization.  

MS3 job examples

New materials are reshaping the world we live in. The need for engineers with expertise in the Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems is increasing. Companies in diverse industries are eager to offer jobs to our ME graduate specialized in MS3. The industries they represent range from aerospace and automotive to offshore and energy and precision industries. Many specialized small to medium-sized enterprises also offer exciting jobs.