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PhD position: 3D printing of elastomers

Elastomers require high temperatures and pressures for vulcanization, and are therefore up to now still unprintable. One of the major problems of elastomers …

7 maanden geleden


Drienerlolaan, Enschede, Overijssel
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2266 - € 2897 per maand


Elastomers require high temperatures and pressures for vulcanization, and are therefore up to now still unprintable. One of the major problems of elastomers is a relatively high viscosity: they do not melt or solidify at temperate changes unlike thermoplastics or metals. This makes elastomers difficult to be supplied through the printing head of the commonly used devices. Moreover, the layers experience deformation or even collapse when the printed shape is too heavy or the time before vulcanization is too long. Thus, good adhesion between layers and adequate shape stability of the printed rubber profile should be achieved during printing process. Therefore, the project “3D printing of elastomers” aims at building the fundamental knowledge on material requirements for printable elastomers. The formulation of those elastomers needs to be defined. A tailor-made elastomer printing system will be developed to print defect-free elastomeric articles which require vulcanization.

  • You will study the rheological behavior of rubber compounds under the simulated material supplying conditions using an extruder as a foundation;
  • You will analyze the factors influencing the interlayer adhesion of rubber strips, fundamental phenomena of polymer chain diffusion and their occurrence during layered product built-up as well as bond formation across the interface between the layers;
  • You will identify the material requirements for printable elastomers and define formulations of those elastomers;
  • You will develop 3D printing prototype equipment for elastomers based on the outcomes from the material and processing studies;
  • You will develop approaches (based on the potential materials and process conditions selected) for making the printed elastomeric object stable in the envisaged shape while printing;
  • You will elaborate techniques/procedures to vulcanize rubber compounds partially during printing to fully at the final state;
  • You will closely collaborate with your research-team colleagues at the University of Twente, as well as with the consortium of industrial partners;
  • You will mentor BSc and MSc students, who do graduation projects in support of your research;
  • You will finish your research with a PhD thesis and publish your work in academic journals and at conferences.


  • You hold a MSc degree in Rubber Technology, Polymer Technology, Mechanical Engineering, or a closely related discipline;
  • You have good knowledge/demonstrated awareness of fundamental aspects of rubber processing, in particular extrusion and injection processes, and rubber properties. Experiences in processing and formulating rubber compounds are desirable;
  • You are aware of analysis technologies/techniques for elastomeric materials such as rheology/viscosity, dynamic mechanical (DMA) and mechanical properties, interfacial interaction/morphology by microscopy (SEM, TEM, AFM, EDX), and other related techniques;
  • You have a strong analytical mind and an eye for detail, as well as a critical attitude towards assessment of experimental results;
  • You like to present your results to colleagues, industrial partners and at international conferences;
  • You are fluent in English and express yourself easily both in speech and in writing.

For information, please contact Dr. Wisut Kaewsakul (w.kaewsakul@utwente.nl), or Dr. Wilma Dierkes (w.k.dierkes@utwente.nl).

The start of the project is as soon as possible. We also invite applications from candidates, who expect to graduate soon. Your application should be submitted before 31 December 2018.

Please send the following documents through the link below:

  • Letter of motivation
  • Curriculum vitae
  • List with grades of courses attended from both Bachelor and Master degrees
  • References and, if applicable, a list of publications
  • Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.


  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities;
  • You will be given the opportunity to acquire teaching experience;
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente;
  • A starting salary of € 2.266 gross per month in the first year and a salary of € 2.897 in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.