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“Tuning mechanical performance in the application requires knowledge of processing and properties, and insight into the connection between material and design”

Research profile

Tom Engels is a part-time Assistant Professor (UD) in polymer mechanics at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e); the majority of his time he is active as Principal Scientist within the Engineering Materials business of DSM. . Areas of expertise include polymer mechanics, polymer physics and polymer processing, with key expertise resting on the first. Focus in his research lies on connecting processing conditions to final properties of polymers and polymer based composites, taking their chemical structure and related physics into account. As a part-time assistant professor he acts as a linking pin between academia and industry.

Academic background

Tom Engels studied Mechanical Engineering at TU/e where he received MSc (with honors) 2005 and his PhD (with honors) in 2008, with prof. dr. ir. H.E.H. Meijer as his advisor and prof. dr. ir. L.E Govaert and prof. dr. ir. G.W.M. Peters as his co-advisors. In addition to his work at TU/e, Tom works at DSM Engineering Materials as Principal Scientist with polymer mechanics as his expertise, and in the past has been active for all Performance Materials groups within DSM. As such he holds a broad expertise in polymer mechanics and processing related topics, ranging from engineering plastics and composite applications, all the way to the production and performance of ultra-strong fibers.

Education and Teaching

Graduation projects:

There are always topics available for starting your MSc project:

  • Deformation and failure behavior of short-fiber filled thermoplastic polymers. How can we improve our understanding of these systems such that models become accurate enough to do first-time-right in-silico design of new applications.
  • Fundamentals of crack-growth in thermoplastics and their composites; crack growth is (mostly) the dominant mechanical  failure mode in structural applications if it comes to continous dynamic loading. It is, however, still poorly understood. Here we aim to build a phenomenological framework that allows us to accurately predict failure of materials and provide guidelines for their improvement (together with Leon Govaert) .
  • Mechanical properties of high performance fibers and ropes: short- and long-term performance, wear, etc.
  • Fatigue of thermoplastic elastomers. These systems have the processibility of a thermoplastic, combined with the elasticity that comes close to that of an elastomer. Although already in use for quite some time, their fatigue performance is poorly understood. Aim is to develop a experimental and modeling framework that allows us to capture their fatigue performance and improve the life-time estimation of applications based on these systems.


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