The program Master of Science in Materials Engineering: sustainable materials aims at the study of properties, production or extraction, processing, use and recycling of a whole range of materials. This implies:
- description and modeling of properties of a material
- chemical, mechanical and thermal processing aspects in materials engineering
- influence of the chemical composition and processing conditions on the structure and properties of materials in view of optimal performance
- the behavior of materials in different user circumstances and how degradation can be limited.
Dealing with limited resource availability worldwide in a sustainable way is an important objective of the course. Important materials dealt with are metals, synthetic materials, textiles, composites and ceramics. In order to specialize in specific types of materials, students can choose between two majors.
The major Metal Science and Engineering focuses on metals with emphasis on understanding and developing innovative, light metals used in constructions where these metals have to fulfill increasingly stringent safety requirements. Both optimizations of the chemical composition (alloy formation) and processing are discussed in detail. Ceramic materials are also highlighted.
The concept of sustainability is addressed. On the one hand, the student will acquire knowledge to understand why a material deteriorates and how surface engineering can increase its life span. On the other hand, the student will learn to process metals from secondary sources, such as scrap or e-waste, and will understand that metals can be produced that are equally performing as metals produced from primary raw materials (ores).
Further, the emphasis is put on modeling. The student will become familiar with the available options to simulate the material properties and their evolution and subsequently will learn to adequately interpret the outcome of these simulations.
The major Polymers and Fibre Structures focuses on polymers, especially on fiber based structures. Polymers are the main raw material of fibers, next to ceramic and mineral materials. The program covers the materials and their physical, chemical and mechanical processing and treatment. Emphasis is put on the technology, the behavior of the fibers and yarns during processing and the fundamental properties of the structures. By providing a physical or chemical after treatment to textile materials, additional properties (added value) can be achieved. The theory of color, color formation and perception and the treatment of different dye types including their application are described. As such, students obtain an understanding of textile materials and processes with special attention to the development of products with specific functionalities (flame retardant, crease resistant, antibacterial, soil resistant, etc.). Nanotechnology and biotechnological materials and processes are discussed. A lot of attention is paid to the development of artificial turf for sports and other recreational purposes. A specific type of functional materials relates to intelligent (interactive) textile materials. Opposite to the other ‘major’, the courses are partially taught in Dutch, partially in English. Thematic clusters of elective courses offer students the possibility to further concentrate on specific materials (possibly from the other major), or specific themes such as ecology, nanotechnology, smart materials, chemistry or business-oriented technical and non-technical topics.
The Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (FEA) offers most of the Master’s programs in Engineering in English. This underlines the international ambition of the faculty, as well as the importance of international education and multiple language skills for students.
In both majors, students have two possibilities: either an advanced program of materials sciences or a more broad approach (by choosing a Minor) which – next to a thorough study of materials science – gives the opportunity to specialize in one of the following fields: Management, Environment and Sustainable Development, Automotive Production Engineering.
Graduates (Masters in Materials Engineering) –like all other engineers (Masters in Engineering)– have a wide range of possibilities. The demand for engineers (MSc in Engineering) exceeds the number of graduates available including material science engineers. Graduates have careers in industry, public service or scientific research. Fundamental and applied scientific research concentrates on the properties, the behavior, the processing and the production of different types of materials, such as metals, synthetic materials, ceramics, composites and ‘new’ materials. Others analyze and optimize existing or new production and processing methods. Researchers can work in academic and industrial research centers. In industry, material science engineers have technical, commercial or management positions.
Traditional and new important industrial sectors for experts in materials are: the metal industry, both production and processing such as recycling of metals, assembly plants, chemical companies (corrosion or process engineer and material selection), machine manufacturers, micro-electronics companies (semiconductors), supervisory bodies and expertise centres (material properties and study of insurance claims).
Material science engineers often work together with mechanical engineers, architects or chemists but have a specific complementary profile which is of vital importance in the implementation of engineering projects. Textiles and polymers also belong to materials engineering. The textile and clothing sector is still one of the main industries and a growing sector. Innovation and development of advanced products for new markets and the application of new technologies are essential for a healthy industry. This requires an increasing number of Masters in Engineering with a specialization in Materials Engineering. They hold leading positions in the development, production and sale of advanced textile materials. Such textile materials are used in almost all industries, from beverages and food to foams, electronics, pharmacy, medicine, agriculture, transport (e.g., composites), etc. In these industries, job opportunities are available for material science engineers as well.
Admission (for international degree students)
Students who wish to enrol for the Master of Science in Sustainable Materials Engineering can enter the program without any prerequisites if they hold the following diploma: an academic diploma of Bachelor (or Master) of Science in Engineering (university level, minimum of three years), with the main subject in Chemical Engineering and/or Materials Science and/or Civil Engineering and/or Engineering Physics and/or Electromechanical Engineering, or an equivalent to this. Admission can only be granted after an individual application procedure. The Study Program Committee will make the final decision on whether to accept the application or not. The Study Program Committee can decide that students need to follow a preparatory course or an individual master’s program, for instance for students who hold another diploma of Bachelor or Master.
Program taught in: