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Open PDEng position for rubber friction tests

PDEng: Rubber Friction Tests

Would you like to contribute to improve and develop equipment and methods for more accurate measurement of friction of tires on the road? Are you passionate about high-end technological design? Then, this Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) programme may be for you. The PDEng is a 2-year post Master Degree technological designers programme. This programme contains an educational part and a project. For the project, you work at the Elastomer Technology and Engineering (ETE) chair of the University of Twente, in close co-operation with Apollo Tyres Global R&D. The educational programme will have an in-depth character with ample attention for professional development and is partly tailored to the design project. Within the project, you will develop a high-level and creative solution for the given problem.

The challenge

Tyre traction plays a crucial role in safety on roads, as the tyre is the only contact area between the vehicle and the road. Tyre manufacturers test the braking distance of tyres intensively on different surfaces and at conditions to ensure safety of their products. Prediction of the friction ability of tread compounds at an early stage of tyre development is very important.

Friction between tread rubber and dry clean road surfaces consists of two components: adhesion (shearing in the area of real contact) and a hysteretic part from the pulsating deformation of the tread rubber evoked by asperities of the road surface. In case of wet friction, the adhesion part can be removed or significantly reduced due to a hydrophilic contact especially at low sliding speeds. Recently B.N.J. Persson and coworkers published articles about the importance of adhesion, of the effect of water squeezed out of the interface and of the type of contact on rubber friction. This includes theoretical explanations and models based on these insights and special measurements, like measurement of adhesion between a rubber sample and a glass ball. These measurements so far were done on existing equipment at Apollo Tyres Global R&D.

The challenge of the design project is to redesign two types of equipment, to be able to measure various types of surfaces and tread compounds. The latter includes a wide range of different resins, which can affect adhesion and therefore friction. This type of measurements will help to better understand the effect of compound composition on rubber friction and tyre breaking performance.

The mission of this design project is to:

“Design of robust and reliable test equipment and methods for measurement of rubber friction.”

In the course program you get a customised education package consisting of, among others, courses in decision-support system design, systems engineering & design, theoretical background on rubber and friction, and experimental methods.

Our offer

You will get a contract for 24 months. During these two years you follow a tailor made post-master design programme with a combination of education (50%) and working on a design project (50%). On successfully completing the programme, you will receive a certified and recognised degree. You will be entitled to use the academic degree PDEng and will be registered as a Technological Designer in the Dutch register kept by the Royal Institution of Engineers in the Netherlands (KIVI).


We are searching for the best MSc graduated with a proven affinity with elastomers and friction measurement methods. Besides, you have the ambition and talent to accelerate finding solutions / crafting designs for complex technological issues with a multidisciplinary character. Important professional skills are good English language skills, communication and social skills, collaboration, initiative and self-reflection. Prior knowledge in rubber friction measurement are useful for you to successfully complete the project.

Information and application

If you have any further questions about this vacancy of the PDEng programme in Energy and Process Technology, please contact Prof. Anke Blume ( or Dr. Wilma Dierkes (, telephone: 053 489 4721. General information about PDEng programmes you can find at or

Please send your application, with a curriculum vitae, a list with grades of courses attended, references and, if applicable, a list of publications you may have done.

The organization

We stand for:

  • life sciences and technology.
  • High tech and human touch.
  • Education and research that matter.
  • New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society.

We are the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and hardworking researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.