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Specialization in Thermal &Fluid engineering

Making products, machines and installations better, cleaner, quieter and more sustainable

Are you eager to use your expertise as a mechanical engineer for designing and building machines, installations and processes that can offer maximum performance with minimal environmental impact? Do you see yourself developing wind turbines, airplane wings or heat pumps that will not just make life on our planet more comfortable, but also cleaner, quieter and more sustainable? Are you fascinated by the possibilities of fluid dynamics on a small scale – think ink jet printers or respiratory devices – as well as a large scale? If so, the Master’s specialization Thermal & Fluid Engineering (T&FE), one of five tracks you can choose from within our Master’s programme Mechanical Engineering (ME), could be the perfect choice for you.

How can we translate fundamental insights from physics, thermodynamics, mechanics and nature into solutions for some of the grand challenges of our time, for example, in areas such as energy, transport and environmental sustainability? What can we learn from nature about thermal and fluid dynamics, for example by looking at the flight of a bird, the formation of clouds, or the shape of a windblown tree? What does it take to create machines and processes that use fewer natural resources and cause less pollution, waste and noise, yet produce better results than those we have today? These are typical questions you will tackle in the Thermal & Fluid Engineering track. 

"The Thermal & Fluid Engineering track is all about making human activity on this planet more energy-efficient, cleaner, quieter and more effective. Throughout the programme we get eye-to-eye with very fundamental processes in nature and learn how to convert the principles we see there into industrial and societal solutions. Students doing this track have chosen either Design and Construction (D&C) as their competency profile, or Organization and Management (O&M). Because thermal and fluid dynamics occur in so many different areas of life, students can use the expertise they gain in this track across a very wide range of application fields." - Prof. Dr. Ir. Kees Venner, Track Coordinator for Thermal & Fluid Engineering

What makes this track different? 

Become a specialist in turning thermal and fluid dynamics into engineering gains

The ME track Thermal & Fluid Engineering will deepen and broaden your knowledge of the design, analysis and maintenance of machinery, structures, products 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 Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems. The main difference is that this track focuses on the relationship between thermal and fluid dynamics and today’s engineering challenges.

The challenges you face as an engineer in today’s world centre on the design and development of processes and equipment with a high performance and minimal environmental impact. In the Thermal & Fluid Engineering track, you will be equipped to influence both aspects: while improving the results of products, machines and installations, you will also realize more effective use of (natural) resources, energy and reduce pollution, waste and noise.  Thermal and Fluid Engineering plays a vital role in much of the equipment today’s society and industry rely on, for example, wind turbines, pumps, airplanes, compressors, gas turbines, pyrolysis in fluidized beds, heat pumps, heat engines, multi-scale systems, thin layer flows, contact mechanics and granular flows.

The research you will be involved in this track is both experimental and theoretical and includes numerical simulations. Our laboratories at the UT are well-equipped and have bench-scale facilities and pilot plants for thermal conversion processes and (aero-acoustic) wind tunnel facilities. We also develop new processes, equipment and advanced methods for (multi-scale) modelling, often in close collaboration with research institutes and industry.

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

✓ Learn from nature and convert your insights into industrial, societal and ecological gains

✓ Learn to create machines and processes that use fewer natural resources and cause less pollution, waste and noise, yet produce better results

✓ Become a highly valued cross-disciplinary specialist in Thermal & Fluid Engineering 

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 Thermal & Fluid Engineering track 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. 

✓ 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 and societal challenges.

Track courses 

A lot of room for personal preferences

Like most of our Master’s tracks, the ME track Thermal & Fluid Engineering 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 traineeship or internship in the second year, in the Netherlands or abroad, with an industrial organization 
  • Your graduation project 

 The Thermal & Fluid Engineering track combines different disciplines, such as mechanical engineering, fluid dynamics, mathematics and physics. The track covers four specific and specialized research themes:

  1. Rotating flow machines
  2. Multiphase flow and wave phenomena
  3. Computational aerodynamics algorithm design
  4. Biophysical fluid dynamics

Graduation projects

Combine research with practical application in an industrial setting

Naturally, you are free as a Master’s student to come up with your own graduation project proposal. 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 Thermal & Fluid Engineering Master’s track of Mechanical Engineering, our internships and graduation projects touch on many different sectors, from energy and mobility to manufacturing and healthcare. Our students often work with industry leaders, such as Shell, Exxon, Philips, Akzo, NLR, ECN, Gasunie, TNO, Siemens and others in the Netherlands. For projects and internships abroad our partners include players like BASF, Rolls Royce, GE as well as numerous renowned universities around the world. 

Thermal & Fluid Engineering thesis research possibilities

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

Examples of T&FE thesis topics

  • One of our students developed Robird, a remotely controlled robotic bird of prey designed for bird control, and now part of a successful company
  • Other students have used their expertise in thermal and fluid dynamics to research and improve respiratory devices for children, or to create 3D models of the human cardiovascular system for the purpose of researching health issues, such as artery clogging, without animal testing
  • Exploring noise reduction measures for airplanes, wind turbines and machines is another T&FE typical thesis topic
  • Other examples: researching ice formation on airplane wings, predicting wind turbine failures, or testing new fabrics in our wind tunnel in order to develop more aerodynamic outfits for athletes, as we did for Dutch Olympic ice skater Sven Kramer in 2013.

Career prospects

On completing the Master’s programme Mechanical Engineering you will receive a Master of Science 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. 

Thermal & Fluid Engineering job examples

As a Thermal & Fluid Engineering specialist you will excel both in science and in engineering. Numerous exciting job opportunities will be available to you. You may work with an international company, such as Philips, DSM, ASML, Shell, Siemens, GE or Boeing, in healthcare, or in the sustainable energy sector. Many specialized small to medium-sized high-tech enterprises also offer exciting jobs.

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