• Nijenborgh4, Gebouw 5113, ruimte 0118

    9747 AG Groningen


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Personal profile


Erik Van der Giessen studied and received his PhD degree from Delft University of Technology in 1987. During a subsequent research fellowship of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW), he spent periods as a postdoc at the Technical University in Denmark and at Brown University (Providence, USA) with the leaders (Tvergaard and Needleman, respectively) in a research field that was germinating at that moment: micromechanics of materials. In 1992 he was appointed professor in this field at Delft University of Technology. As multiscale aspects of deformation and fracture became more essential in his line of research, moving his group to the Materials Science Center (MSC, now Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials) in Groningen at the start of 2001 provided an opportunity to incorporate chemophysical aspects into his work. In addition, this move opened the way to add biological materials and cells to the palette of materials under investigation. Erik Van der Giessen was elected member of the KNAW in 1999 and received various honors, among which the W.T. Koiter Medal awarded by the American Society for Mechanical Engineering and the Solid Mechanics Prize issues by EuroMech. Since 2019 he is serving as director of the bachelor degree programme in Biomedical Engineering.

Three Top Publications 2017-2022:
1. E. van der Giessen, P.A. Schultz, N. Bertin, V.V. Bulatov, W. Cai, G. Csányi et al., Roadmap on multiscale materials modeling. Modelling Simul. Mater. Sci. Eng. 28 043001 (2020).
This is a commissioned roadmap paper that presents a compact overview of the impact that computational modelling has had in materials science and offers focused perspectives on where the path forward lies in this rapidly expanding field. 

2. E. van der Giessen, Micromechanics & emergence in time, Eur. J. Mech. A/Solids 75 277-283 (2019).
While Micromechanics is commonly associated only with the notion of homogenisation in space, inelastic material behaviour is, in fact, a natural consequence of emergent behaviour in space and in time. The thrust of this paper is that, by enlarging its mission to coarse graining in space ànd time, the field of micromechanics can play an important role in the understanding and description of new supramolecular materials.

3. H. Song, A.I. Vakis, X. Liu, E. Van der Giessen, Statistical model of rough surface contact accounting for size-dependent plasticity and asperity interaction, J. Mech. Phys. Solids, 106, 1-14 (2017).
This paper resolves two long-standing limitations of the Greenwood-Williamson theory for the contact between two rough surfaces, namely the presumed size-independence of material behaviour and the lack of interaction between neighbouring asperities. These limitations are removed by embedding our discrete dislocation methodology into a statistical description of a rough surface.

External positions

VUB Chair, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Research Fellow KNAW, Delft University of Technology


Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or