Structural performance of polymers and their composites

Mechanical Engineering

About this course

Modern engineering practice places ever increasing demands (eg. load, temperature, time) on the structural performance of polymers. Whereas new polymers are still being developed to meet these increasing demands, another important route for meeting them is by increasing our understanding of these systems and translate that understanding into tools that allow for smaller safety margins to be used in the application. Essential for polymers in that respect is a high level of understanding of how processing and final properties are connected, since it is not only the chemical composition of the system that determines its final properties and eventual failure, but to a large extend also the processing history experienced while being converted into an actual product.
The various failure phenomena that may occur in polymers and their composites in short-term (impact) or long-term (static or cyclic fatigue) loading will be discussed in detail. We will focus on mechanically induced failure, and will distinguish between ductile failure modes, i.e. controlled by plasticity, and brittle failure modes, governed by crack growth; the domain of fracture mechanics. The fundamentals of both failure regimes will be covered and the main methods to predict their response will be introduced and demonstrated.

Learning outcomes

Learn to combine and apply the various competences related to polymer processing and properties in the design and use of demanding applications where polymers are used. Gain fundamental insight in the microstructural processes (plasticity and crack driven failure) that occur during short-term (impact) and long-term (static and cyclic fatigue) loading of polymers and polymer composites. Learn about the role of microstructure and composition of the material on its failure response and get acquainted with models that allow to predict failure


Live for applications 14/05/24 – 29/07/24. To register for this course, please contact your home institution.

Assessment: Written online

Course requirements

The course can be successfully completed without any specific prior knowledge, as long as the participant has a bachelor's degree in engineering. Knowledge of (polymer) mechanics, rheology and composite theory is advantageous. Students that lack this


Lectures, Guided Self-study

Additional information

  • Credits
    ECTS 5
  • Contact hours per week
  • Instructors
    Leon Govaert, Tom Engels
  • Mode of instruction
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU/e (The Netherlands).


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      27 October 2024
    • Term *
      Block GS1
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      14 May - 29 Jul 2024
    • Time info
      Tuesday 08:45 - 12:45, Friday 13:30 - 17:30
    Only 8 days to enrol
    Apply now
These offerings are valid for students of DTU (Denmark)