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Specialisation in High-Tech Systems & Materials

This specialisation will be offered from Sept. 2020
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Focus on mechanics, control, materials and processes

When developing, designing and producing new products, a mechanical engineer is confronted with mechanics, materials, control and processes. This specialisation prepares you for a future career as a mechanical engineer (MSc) and includes an emphasis on mechanics, control, materials and processes. These skills are indispensable to create new materials (composites), products and manufacturing processes of tomorrow. 

So, do you want to become a mechanical engineer and are you passionate about the behaviour of systems and materials used to develop products and manufacturing processes? Are you eager to contribute to the creation of new and optimized materials, products and machinery? Do you want to combine fundamental research with model-based design and immediate industrial application? Then the High-Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM) Master’s specialisation is the perfect choice for you. 

The HTSM specialisation will deepen and broaden your knowledge of the development, design, analysis and maintenance of machinery, structures, products and production processes. In this sense, it is similar to the other ME specialisations. The main difference is that this specialisation focuses on the behaviour of, and the interaction between, components (materials) and processes.

Four separate themes 

The High-Tech Systems and Materials specialisation is your best option if you want to learn how to put the properties and behaviour of single and interacting materials and systems to maximum industrial use. The specialisation covers four separate themes:

  • Material behaviour and (nonlinear) solid mechanics (large deformation and uncertainties during production processes, and composites);
  • Nonlinear dynamics (multibody dynamics, large motions of flexible bodies);
  • System behaviour (control, dynamics, surface interface);
  • Robust optimization and control of production processes (composite manufacturing, steel manufacturing processes).

Your tasks as a HTSM specialist can vary greatly. A few examples: from developing physics-based computing models and/or control algorithms for the design or optimization of physical machines or systems to designing a test rig for the validation of new products and identification of the causes of deviations in order to facilitate improvement, to 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 analysing and controlling the dynamic behaviour of systems.

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 as part of your underlying research, you will also deal with submicron-size features on material surfaces.

Why choose this specialisation at UT? 

You can complete a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at many universities here in the Netherlands and around the world. The ME programme at UT and this specific specialisation are unique for the following reasons:

✓ The research groups involved in this specialisation have a strong background in (non-linear) mechanics (forming and dynamics), manufacturing processes (control), composites and interfaces, and all have formed strong collaborations with industrial partners in these fields. This creates an excellent platform for boosting the education of mechanical engineers who will be responsible for the development of future products and processes.

✓ There is a strong collaboration with the Thermoplastic Composites Research Centre, a globally renowned leader in the advancement of composites technology for large-scale industrial application. Many students enrolled in the HTSM specialisation work with TPRC and its partners, which include firms such as Boeing, GKN-Fokker and Toray Advanced Composites.

✓ Over the past decades, rich research portfolios have been established in collaboration with other large industrial partners such as Tata Steel, Shell, Apollo Vredestein, ASML and offshore companies (e.g. Allseas), as well as with smaller companies, such as DAF trucks, Demcon and many other small to medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). More research-oriented, the research groups within the faculty work together with divisions of the NLR, TNO, the Fraunhofer Institute and a number of international universities.

IN SUMMARY

  • Expand the mechanical engineering expertise you gained in your Bachelor’s degree programme;
  • Become a highly valued cross-disciplinary specialist with hands-on expertise in the fields of theory, physics based-modelling, analysis methods and model-based design in the interface field of mechanics, control, materials and processes;
  • Learn to apply this specialised knowledge to solve the industrial problems of today and tomorrow.

Graduation 

The broad scope of the HTSM specialisation is reflected in a wide variety of graduation projects. You can either choose to do a research-oriented project, typically in close collaboration with a (PhD) research project, or opt for a more industrial project (typically at a company or research institute). In Model-based design projects can be more theoretical (developing physics-based models or theory, running simulations) or more experimental (developing experimental set-ups, exploring material behaviour from experiments) but generally contain a mixture of both.

A non-exhaustive list of examples of graduation projects are:

  • Optimization of composite production processes
  • Optimization of sheet metal forming processes
  • Flexible multi-body models for satellite solar applications
  • Damage evaluation with dynamic methods applied to wind turbines
  • Pipe laying at deep-sea locations
  • Active noise and vibration control
  • Rollercoaster dynamics
  • Ultrasonic reflection methods for thin-film measurements
  • Machine learning for analysis of mechanical processes
  • Smart rubber for car tires
  • Design of an additive manufactured flexure-based hand prosthesis using under-actuation for passive adaptive grasp

Career Prospects 

The HTSM specialisation prepares you for a broad range of career opportunities. Depending on your choice of courses, you can steer towards a career in research or in industry, or at the interface between the two. Whichever you choose, as a graduate you will be prepared to work on cutting-edge technologies, developing new products and using and developing new production technologies and model-based design methods, all while taking into account mechanical behaviour, system materials and process control. Typically, our graduates work in research and development departments (at larger companies) or as design/development engineers (at smaller companies), possibly taking on a leading role. 

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