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Personal profile


“My goal is to create new materials that are just as fantastic as those developed by nature!”

Research profile

Wouter’s research group ‘Responsive Soft Matter’ focuses on physical foundations of novel high-tech materials that respond to mechanical stimuli or other changes in their environment. Taking inspiration from natural materials and processes, he unravels molecular mechanisms and develops proofs of concept in order to create new materials. To achieve this goal, he and his team are continuously developing new ways of extracting relevant information from vast data sets and developing advanced computer simulations. The group currently focuses on a number of recent advances in polymeric materials, including toughening mechanisms in elastomers and gels, stress relaxation in vitrimers, and structure-function relations in biocompatible hydrogels.

Wouter has a broad experience in soft matter physics, and always looks for ways to make connections between its subfields, be it colloids, granular media, or biological materials. He also enjoys working closely together with a variety of academic disciplines, such as chemistry, biomedical and mechanical engineering, to establish new experimental techniques and develop materials for new applications.

Academic background

Wouter Ellenbroek joined Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in October 2010 as a postdoc funded by NWO through a Veni grant. In 2013, he became Assistant Professor, and was tenured in 2016. After obtaining his MSc in Theoretical Physics from Radboud University Nijmegen in 2003, Wouter Ellenbroek obtained his PhD at Leiden University, where he studied the mechanics and statistics of granular media. During a three-year stay as a postdoc in the Soft Matter Theory group of the University of Pennsylvania, Wouter expanded his field of work to include soft matter at smaller scales, particularly colloids, lipids and polymers. Here, he was awarded the Herbert Callen Memorial Prize in 2010.

Affiliated with

  • TU/e, Department of Applied Physics
  • TU/e, Institute for Complex Molecular Systems

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Wouter G. Ellenbroek is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

rigidity Physics & Astronomy
jamming Physics & Astronomy
Packing Mathematics
Granular Matter Mathematics
Ensemble Mathematics
polymers Physics & Astronomy
low frequencies Physics & Astronomy
glass Physics & Astronomy

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2004 2019

  • 1055 Citations
  • 26 Article
  • 1 Poster
27 Citations (Scopus)

Rigidity loss in disordered systems : three scenarios

Ellenbroek, W. G., Hagh, V. F., Kumar, A., Thorpe, M. F. & van Hecke, M., 1 Apr 2015, In : Physical Review Letters. 114, 13, p. 135501-1/5 5 p., 135501

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
elastic properties
1 Citation (Scopus)

Harnessing entropy to enhance toughness in reversibly crosslinked polymer networks

Tito, N. B., Creton, C., Storm, C. & Ellenbroek, W. G., 14 Mar 2019, In : Soft Matter. 15, 10, p. 2190-2203 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Self-stresses control stiffness and stability in overconstrained disordered networks

Bose, A., Vermeulen, M. F. J., Storm, C. & Ellenbroek, W. G., 12 Feb 2019, In : Physical Review E. 99, 2, 12 p., 023001

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Swap-driven self-adhesion and healing of vitrimers

Ciarella, S. & Ellenbroek, W. G., Feb 2019, In : Coatings. 9, 2, 12 p., 114

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
1 Citation (Scopus)

Two-dimensional crystals of star polymers: a tale of tails

Bos, I., van der Scheer, P., Ellenbroek, W. G. & Sprakel, J., 1 Jan 2019, In : Soft Matter. 15, 4, p. 615-622 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review



NWO Veni Award : How like charges attract?

Wouter Ellenbroek (Recipient), 25 Nov 2010

Recognition: NWOVeniScientific

computerized simulation


Biomolecules and soft matter

1/09/15 → …



1/09/12 → …


Engineering Design

1/09/14 → …


Student theses

A model to simulate the ion-driven assembly of microtubes

Author: Thijssen, K., 2014

Supervisor: Ellenbroek, W. (Supervisor 1) & Vermeulen, M. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Bachelor


Directionality of diffusion on curved surfaces: anisotropic diffusion on the surface of a cylinder in three dimensional simulations

Author: van Leuken, S., 2015

Supervisor: Kusters, R. (Supervisor 1) & Ellenbroek, W. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Bachelor