Dr.ir. R.A.J. (Ron) van Ostayen

Associate Professor, Mechatronic System Design and Tribology

Ron van Ostayen is associate professor of Mechatronic System Design and Tribology at Delft University of Technology. 

He has published in national and international journals, at numerous conferences and workshops, and holds several patents mainly in the field of full film tribology.  He is (board) member in several national and international professional organizations. For a sabbatical leave he was visiting researcher at MIT, Cambridge, USA.

At the faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering of Delft University of Technology he has been member of the exam committee and is now chair of the ‘Bindend Studie Advies’ committee. 

Research Interests

My core area of expertise is tribology, the study of friction, wear and lubrication in mechanical and mechatronical systems.  My long-standing main interest here is the study of the fundamental properties of full film lubrication through mathematical modelling and experimental study, and this has resulted in improved understanding of, and innovative applications of full film lubricated machine components in these systems.  This focus on the fundamentals has resulted in applications in different areas of interest, from very large-scale marine applications, to small-scale and high precision wafer and foil handling components.

The study of full film lubricating systems is naturally a multi-physics discipline.  Understanding of thermal and (visco-)elastic behaviour of mechanical systems, understanding of the dynamic behaviour of high-tech systems and the active control of those systems is developed simultaneously.

Underlying drive in this research is two-fold: (1) the replacement of expensive and environmentally non-friendly lubricating oils by water where both possible and advantageous, while simultaneously maintaining or improving the reliability and performance of the system, and (2), development of so-called smart surfaces that are divided into small scale lubrication, actuation and sensing components.  Application of these surfaces is found in high precision systems in order to again improve reliability and performance. 

Education Interests

At Delft University of Technology we pride ourselves in educating students to a high standard and instilling in them a critical attitude towards the problems posed and the standard solutions offered.

Besides the fact that I present courses, workshops and guest lectures directly related to my research areas of interest or to mechanical design in general, I am also responsible for several courses on the application of mathematical modelling in mechanical engineering.  These courses range from introductory courses on the finite element method at BSc level to advanced courses on multi-physics modelling and discrete systems modelling at MSc level.  Also coaching individual students or small project groups on all levels, be it BSc, MSc, or PhD, is an important, rewarding and fun aspect of my educational tasks.

Ron van Ostayen