Course code



Dierkes, W.K.


Minor / 1B





A HTHT-minor fits within the UT profile: High Tech, Human Touch. The minor is offered in English and accessible for both national and international students. The goal of the HTHT-minor is to illuminate specific societal themes for which the UT develops High Tech Human Touch solutions. These solutions are created by conducting high-quality research. Both the form and the content of the minors are High Tech Human Touch (multidisciplinary) and are profiling for the student.

The UT offers most HTHT-minors in a coherent package of 2 (30 EC). There are also HTHT minors of 15 EC that do not belong to a package. You can choose one of these minors and combine this with one minor of a package. If possible, you can even choose 2 minors from different packages.

In this module, the students will learn

  1. How the combination of different materials creates new functionalities,
  2. How the nature of a material determines the structure of the interface, and
  3. How the interface structure determines the properties of the composite,
  4. How macroscopic as well as microscopic characteristics of materials are related to their property profiles,
  5. How a material can act as a sensor, or
  6. How a sensor can be embedded in a product,
  7. How the signal from the sensor can be transmitted to the user,
  8. How the man-machine interface can be designed.

One example for the application of this knowledge is sensor and actuator technology in an elastomeric matrix for monitoring failure of the material before it actually happens. The module requires a basic understanding of materials as is part of the curriculum of Advanced Technology and Mechanical Engineering. This knowledge is complimented by dedicated classes on composite materials on nano, micro and macro scale, including innovative material functionalities as e.g. nondestructive online sensor technology. This HTHT module has a strong link to current industrial research through the input from invited speakers from industry and an integrated project in cooperation with Apollo.

The module starts with two courses, Interfaces and Interactions in Composite materials (IICM) and Interfaces and Physical chemistry of interfaces (PCI). Students who already followed PCI can still attend, but they will follow the class on Chemistry and Technology of Polymers (CTOM) instead.

Within IICM, the students will gain knowledge and insight into the fundamental and functional properties of various polymeric materials and will understand the relations between (micro)structure and macroproperties of materials. Special attention will be paid to interfaces and how they determine material properties and functionalities.

The PCI class describes the relation between the properties of interfaces on molecular scale and macroscopic properties like contact angle and surface tension. On fundamental level, the relation between macroscopic properties and molecular composition is discussed and demonstrated by examples ranging from drop development in rain clouds to selectivity of catalysts. Attention will be paid to gas-solid, gas-liquid and liquid-liquid interfaces, including some means to characterize these interfaces.

The alternative class, CTOM, discusses the basic aspects of polymer synthesis and physics. In the former part, basic properties of polymers, modern polymer synthesis techniques, polymerization mechanisms and kinetics are discussed. In the polymer physics part, structure-property relations, amorphous and semicrystalline polymers, mechanical properties, viscoelasticity, chain dimensions, networks and properties in solution will be dealt with.

In a practical assignment, students have to apply and broaden their knowledge for the design of a smart material. The application areas, in which the students have to apply the knowledge gained in the classes and assignments, are by preference based on problems current societies have to cope with. Examples are increasing energy efficiency (of transportation), reduction of maintenance efforts, or prediction of material failure. As an example, the students have to develop certain functionalities of elastomeric materials for tires, but they also have to design the environment in which these materials are functioning. This includes communication of the monitored signals in order to make the driver react in the desired way. Also the environmental burden of materials, recyclability and reusability of products or materials after their service life play a role in the design process. The assignment is one actual question out of the R&D portfolio of Apollo. It consists of a theoretical part, in which background information relevant for the assignment will be summarized. In the practical part, the students have to elaborate the design of a sensor functionality from implementation in the tire to communication with the driver. As this is an actual R&D topic of Apollo, outstanding ideas will be followed up.



The student

  1. Understands how material properties are related to structure and composition of a material.
  2. Can explain manufacturing technologies and is able to select an appropriate technology for a specific problem.
  3. Can explain the principles of various techniques for material structure and composition characterization and select the appropriate techniques for a specific problem.
  4. Can search and find relevant literature and locate state of the art research on a materials science topic. Is able to use this information for a literature study that provides an advice for materials choices to realize (at first hand conflicting) functionalities.
  5. Is able to summarize the information from literature in a state-of-the-art overview.
  6. Can elaborate an advice for material choices to realize (at first hand conflicting) functionalities. Requirements of sustainability, environmental and health hazards, recyclability etc. have to be included.
  7. Can specify the requirements for a certain functionality.
  8. Can design a material to fulfil the technical functionality.
  9. Can evaluate the design from a technical and social view and formulate the impact for humans and society.


After this course the student is able to