The Materials Engineering group, situated in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch, is working with many of the leading national and international institutions in the area of materials engineering. The level of contact varies from fully funded research projects, through to partial funding of projects or studentships, to general collaboration and interchange of knowledge and expertise.
The group has established expertise, equipment and laboratory facilities to conduct research into materials engineering related problems. Our research focuses on developing numerical-experimental techniques to obtain an understanding of material behaviour for modelling and predictive capabilities.
Prof Deborah Blaine is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at Stellenbosch University. Her research focuses on powder materials and processing, most recently including laser powder bed fusion, and sintering of die-compacted and gel-cast materials. Her research typically evaluates the mechanical behaviour of materials with specific focus on the relationships between processing-property-performance for powder-based materials. Additionally, she is passionate about teaching and learning, and the development of professional teaching practice for academics. She currently holds a Teaching Fellowship at Stellenbosch University where she is exploring how the engineering curriculum can be redesigned to incorporate diverse inputs from students, academics, industry and support staff, in order to develop an approach to teaching and learning that is more suited to the South African context.
She joined Stellenbosch University as a senior lecturer in 2007. Prior to this she was the deputy manager of materials research and development at Bleistahl Produktions, GmbH & Co. KG in Germany. Bleistahl is the second largest global manufacturer of sintered valve seat inserts and valve guides. She holds a PhD (2004) in Engineering Science and Mechanics from the Pennsylvania State University and a BEng (1996) in Mechanical Engineering from Stellenbosch University.
Thorsten Becker is appointed as Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering while holding the role of the director for the Centre of Materials Engineering at the University of Cape Town. Prof Becker is also appointed in an extraordinary position in the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering department at Stellenbosch University. Prof Becker’s research interest is in structural integrity: fatigue, fracture and creep. His work aims to use advanced techniques such as digital image and volume correlation, high-resolution microscopy and finite element modelling to measure and extract engineering parameters for structural integrity assessments. One of his keen interests lies in the additive manufacturing of metals and high temperature applications. His work closely collaborates with local and international institutions to develop a better understanding of the process inherent attributes and their link to the material’s structural performance. Prof Becker also acts on various professional bodies and consultants to industry, particularly in the field of Fracture Mechanics
I hold the position of Lecturer in the Mechanics division of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University since 2020. My PhD focused on the development of material-efficient damage assessment techniques for service-retrieved high-energy steam piping that were exposed to creep conditions in South African fossil-fuelled power stations. These include non-contact photomechanical techniques, such as Digital Image Correlation (DIC), over non-uniform material, stress and temperature fields. DIC results are compared with conventional and microstructural methods of damage assessment to give a holistic assessment of creep damage. I am currently involved with projects related to small-sample testing in collaboration with the University of Bristol, energetic materials testing and 3D printing as well as combining such methods with DIC available at Stellenbosch University.
Dr Nur Mohamed Dhansay is a new lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at Stellenbosch University. He completed his PhD in 2021 at Stellenbosch University under the supervision of Professor Thorsten Becker and Professor Kim Vanmeensel (KUL). His research focussed on the near-threshold fatigue crack growth rates of laser powder bed fusion produced Ti-6Al-4V. Nur spent a substantial portion of his PhD in Belgium at KU Leuven where he conducted majority of his experiments. Nur was successful in obtaining a job at Stellenbosch University and is now lecturing a second year and third year Strength of Material course and looks to further his research in fracture mechanics and failure analysis topics.
After completing his mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree at Stellenbosch University in 2014, Dr Ter Haar started his master’s degree on the topic of additive manufacturing of titanium alloys the following year. Having completed his master’s degree cum laude, Dr Ter Haar pursued a PhD in the same field which he completed in 2020. Dr Ter Haar was then appointed as a post-doctoral research assistant at Stellenbosch University during 2021 in which he broadened his research scope to include novel beta-titanium alloys. Dr Ter Haar currently holds the position of lecturer at the engineering faculty of Stellenbosch University.
Born and raised in Limpopo where I completed my matric. I came to Stellenbosch in 2012 to start my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering and graduated 2016. I immediately continued with master’s degree under the supervision of Prof Gerhard Venter working on the prediction of fibre waviness defect during the curing process of thermosetting composite panel with ply drop-offs. I am currently appointed as the Junior Lecture in the Mechanical and Mechatronic engineering department. I will also be doing research for PhD studies on the prediction of microstructure and composition in laser-based additive manufacturing of titanium alloys.
Hailing from a country such as a Namibia, one’s natural affinity is towards heat and toughness. My interest is in understanding the effects of temperature on the properties of metals, the improvement through heat treatment, and modelling and process optimisation. With a MEng in Foundry Technology from AGH University of Science and Technology, and a MTech in Mechanical Engineering from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, I got appointed as a research engineer at the Engineering department at CPUT to establishing a technical research unit. I got involved with the local foundry industry and assisting students in linking metallurgy to mechanical engineering. This exposure contributed to my knowledge gained in aluminium, titanium and iron alloys. Currently appointed as a Junior Lecture in the Mechanical and Mechatronic engineering department, I will also continue my PhD studies on the modelling of precipitation strengthening in steels.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with Cum Laude in 2016 at the University of Stellenbosch and enrolled for postgraduate studies in 2017 with Dr T. Becker as my supervisor. I am primarily interested in using numerical methods and programming to solve problems in engineering. As such my project focuses on developing an open source Digital Image Correlation program with an emphasis on allowing the user to have more control over the correlation process than Is usually offered by commercial software. The aim of this project is for this program to be used by the Material Science research group in their research efforts.
Born in Kwa-Zulu Natal I completed my schooling in a unique adventure-based school in the Eastern Cape and transitioned into a mechanical engineering degree at Stellenbosch University in 2015. Having completed my undergraduate in 2018 I pursued a masters degree with Prof. Thorsten Becker as my supervisor, which I later upgraded to a PhD candidacy at the end of 2020. My PhD research focuses on the prediction of fatigue performance of Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) produced Ti-6Al-4V components for qualification in aerospace and biomedical environments. With the project aiming to emphasize the understanding of the effect and cause of process inherent defects on fatigue performance, within a numerical modelling and small witness coupon testing framework; with the hope of eventually aiding in qualification and certification of LPBF components in an industrial setting.
I obtained a Bsc in Physics and Mathematics from North-West University in 2011 after which I completed a Bsc(Hons) in Materials Science at University of Cape Town in 2012. In 2013 I was fortunate enough to be offered a Masters Studentship at the CSIR(Council for Scientific and Industrial Research). During my Studentship I completed a Msc(Applied Science) in Metallurgy at University of Pretoria where I looked at developing process parameters for the novel and ambitious Aeroswift project that was run by CSIR and Aerosud. After finishing my Msc I was fully employed by CSIR in 2015 where I still work. I started my PhD at University of Stellenbosch in the Materials Engineering research group under supervision of Prof TH Becker in 2019. For my PhD I am looking at ways to predict and prevent support failure and delamination that can occur during Laser Powder Bed Fusion of metals.
I was born In Johannesburg, Lenasia where after years of travelling around South Africa I settled in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. I went to school in East London at Selborne College where I matriculated in 2013. I completed my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stellenbosch University by 2017. I then enrolled for postgraduate studies for the year 2018 under the supervision of Prof DC Blaine of which I have completed in 2020. I am currently enrolled as a PhD student in the Materials department with my project focused at Process development of WC-Co for Selective Laser Melting (SLM). The effects of various parameters and powder morphology on printed SLM components shall be investigated and reported.
I was born in Pretoria and matriculated in 2016 from Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool. I started my studies in 2017 at the University of Pretoria towards Mechanical Engineering and graduated with Cum Laude in 2020. In 2021, I enrolled for my master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stellenbosch University under the supervision of Dr J van der Merwe and Prof T Becker. My research focuses on determining the feasibility of additively manufacturing, patient-specific metallic articulating implant components. The research is mainly focussed on obtaining tribology experimental data by using a pin-on-flat wear testing machine.
I completed my secondary education at Willow Academy in Gqeberha and thereafter began my tertiary education at Stellebosch University in 2015. My final-year project was supervised by my current postgraduate supervisor, Prof. Thorsten Becker. The project investigated the relationship between varying surface finishes achieved through chemical milling and the fatigue-life performance of Ti-6Al-4V, which was produced using Laser Powder-Bed Fusion (LPBF). Following the completion of my BEng degree, my postgraduate studies began in 2020 to broaden my knowledge in materials engineering. The focus of my Master’s thesis is to explore the printing capabilities of beta titanium alloys, Ti-5553 and Ti Beta 21S. The aim of the research seeks to establish dense parts using LPBF and subsequently characterise the mechanical performance of the beta titanium alloys in question.
Born and raised in the Western Cape. I matriculated from Stellenberg High School in 2017. Thereafter, in 2021, I completed my undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering at Stellenbosch University. In 2022, I started my master’s in engineering at Stellenbosch University under the supervision of Dr Melody Neaves (neé van Rooyen) in collaboration with Professor Thorsten Becker at the University of Cape Town. My research involves characterising the high temperature performance of LPBF manufactured nickel-based superalloys. Specifically, Inconel 718.
My name is Andri de Waal born and raised in Secunda, Mpumalanga. I matriculated from Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria in 2015. I pursued a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University, I completed my undergraduate studies in 2021. In 2022 I started my Maters in Material Science under the supervision of Professor Deborah Blaine. My research involves the characterization of metal powders for additive manufacturing.