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Shaping our world with smart materials

The stone, bronze and iron ages owe their names to the materials that shaped them. Today, the challenges society faces - from healthcare and energy to digitalization and transport - call for an entirely new kind of material, with functionalities not yet found in the physical world. Materials that are lighter, cheaper, stronger, more versatile and easier to process and maintain than any we know. Materials that are more environment-friendly, more durable, more predictable in their behaviour and lifecycle. By manipulating the very building blocks of nature – atoms, molecules – we are creating those materials.

Our scientists and their research

In this high-precision, high-potential field of materials science, the University of Twente is a research, education and valorization leader. Applying fundamental research across different disciplines using advanced computer modelling, our scientists participate in numerous prominent public-private partnerships with the aim of discovering how to make materials with the right functionalities and predictable properties. 

Miracle 2D materials

In the last 10 to 15 years, two-dimensional, or 2D, materials – so-called because they consist of just one layer of atoms and therefore lack a significant third dimension – have been heralded as one of the wonders of the 21st century. Although still being developed into useable, commercial products, they continue to be seen as potential game changers for many sectors. They are expected to make aeroplanes and cars lighter and stronger, computers more compact and faster, sensors more sensitive, and many appliances, machines and systems more effective and maintenance-friendly.  

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Cleaner flying with lighter materials

With new, lighter materials the aeronautics, automotive and other industries can decrease fuel consumption and improve their environmental performance. At the Thermoplastic Composites Research Centre (TPRC.nl), companies like Boeing, Fokker and other global leaders work together with researchers from the UT on developing this up-and-coming material.

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Safe Batteries with an Energy Boost

Batteries are not the most popular tech gadgets. They hold too little energy, they’re flammable, they charge slowly, drain quickly and wear out too soon. Through what he calls ‘Lego at atomic scale’, Prof. Dr. Ir. Mark Huijben is busy changing this. His solid-state lithium-ion battery has already been hailed in industry as the battery of the future in terms of power and safety.

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New Fluids for 3D Printing

The technology behind the inkjet printer is fifty years old, but recent discoveries in the field of material science and fluid dynamics are opening up new possibilities. They are making inkjet printing gain speed and accuracy – and boosting the development of 3D printing. ‘Our knowledge of the fluid dynamics of complex fluids is essential for 3D printing,’ says Prof. Dr. Detlef Lohse, Professor of Fluid Dynamics at the University of Twente.

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Spinoffs

For the third time in a row we were named the most entrepeneurial university in the Netherlands. We are succesful in translating our knowledge into economic activity: we've helped over a thousand spinoffs to get going. A few examples:

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