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.

Education and Employment
  • 2009 - present: Associate Professor, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime, and Materials Engineering (3mE), Dept. of Precision and Microsystems Engineering.
  • Apr 2008 - Aug 2008: Visiting researcher (4-months sabbatical leave) Development of a Tesla turbine driven spindle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Precision Engineering Research Group (PERG), headed by Prof. Alexander Slocum, Funded by STW Technology Foundation werkbezoekregeling project 10387
  • 2000 - 2008: Assistant Professor, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime, and Materials Engineering (3mE), Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering,
  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering (6 December 2002), Advisor: Prof. Daniel J. Rixen, Delft University of Technology, The Hydro-Support: An Elasto-Hydrostatic Thrust Bearing with Mixed Lubrication.
  •  Oct. 1996 - Sep. 2000: Lecturer/Researcher, Delft University of Technology, Mechanical Engineering
  • May 1995 - Sep. 1996: Developer Computer Aided Education, Delft University of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Principle designer for Computer Aided Education software for mechanical engineering: COCO (Computer Ondersteund Constructie Onderwijs)
  • Jan 1989 - Sep. 1994: Lecturer/Researcher, Delft University of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, section of Tribology
  • 1981 - 1988: M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering (30 Augustus 1988), Advisor: Prof. Jeu Schouten, Technical University of Eindhoven, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Instituut voor Aandrijftechniek en Tribologie, Het gebruik van de thermische netwerkmethode bij de beschrijving van de warmtehuishouding van werktuigbouwkundige constructies
Selected Professional Activities


  • Board member of the Dutch/Belgian Bond van Materialen – sectie Tribologie, 2007 – present
  • PointOne - Phase 2 project: HiPrins: “Thermal Aspects of High Precision Inkjet Printing”, 
  • member of the Stuurgroep, 2011–2014
  • Elected member of the Mechatronic Systems Knowledge Exchange (MSKE) contact group, 2015 – present 


  • Co-organizer and committee member, Gas Bearing Workshop, Apr 2015, Dusseldorf

Society memberships

  • Member, ASPE, American Society for Precision Engineering, 2013-present.


  • Reviewer for ASME Journal of Tribology, Tribology International, STLE Tribology Transactions, Lubrication Science, Journal of Engineering Tribology, Computer Physics Communications, Simulation: Transactions of the Society for Modeling and Simulation International, Mechatronics, and others
Research Projects


  • Shaping nonlinear impedance for bipedal locomotion, 3mE Cohesion Project
  • Improved design of the automotive turbo-charger, industry funded
  • DarWind:Mastering electro-mechanical dynamics of direct drive generators for large wind turbines, FLOW-project
  • HaTeWe: Handling thin wafers, UII Point-One project


  • HiPrins, Thermal design of high precision inkjet systems, Pieken in de Delta
  • Contactless handling, IOP-project
  • Advanced Lithography Mechatronics - ALM - Contactless wafer handling, kenniswerkersproject KWR-09
  • Design of a high-speed viscous air spindle, MicroNed-project
  • Shape Optimization under conditions of partial elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication, STW-project
  • Thermal modelling of the lemon-bore hydrodynamic bearing, industry funded
  • Design aspects of the Linear Cable Machine, industry funded

Research Grants

  • Apr 2008 - Aug 2008 STW Technology Foundation werkbezoekregeling project 10387 “Development of a new Tesla turbine driven tool spindle”, Visiting Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA, Precision Engineering Research Group Laboratory, prof. Alexander H. Slocum





  • Vuong Hong Phuc, Ron van Ostayen, Robert Munnig Schmidt, An apparatus for carrying and transporting a product, N2009764 (2014-06-08)
  • Michael de Zwart, Christiaan Maat, Anton van Beek, Ron van Ostayen, Asloze schroef, N1029389 (2007-01-04), EP0611635 (2011-05-18)
  • Ron van Ostayen, Product-draag en –transportinrichting, N2000203 (2008-03-03)


Selected industry partners

  • Breeman Engineering, RWS, IV-Infra, IHC, Combimac, van de Velden Marine Systems, Schelde Gears, Dutch Royal Navy, Consultancy HydroRing, ASML, IBS-PE, OCE, NTS, OTB-Solar, Roth-Rau, ASMI, Levitech, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, XEMC Darwind, Assembleon, Philips, Heidenhain Numeric, TNO/Holst Center 
Selected Talks
  • Apr 2009 – INSA Lyon Contact and Structure Mechanics Laboratory (LaMCoS), Invited lecture, Optimization in hydrodynamic lubrication


·       BSc:

  • wb1634, Ontwerpwedstrijd
  • wb2631, Project mechanica, FEM practicum (1 ECTS)
  • wbtp303, BSc project (chair plenary sessions and jury-member) (9 ECTS)

·       MSc:

  • wb2427, Predictive Modeling (3 ECTS)
  • wb2454, Multiphysics Modeling using COMSOL (4 ECTS)


·       BSc:

  •  io1030, Product in werking
  • io2070, Technische productoptimalisatie
  • io2071, Technische productoptimalisatie
  • wbtp109, wbtp113, Project 1: Analyse (5 ECTS)
  • wbtp110, wbtp114, Project 2: Synthese (5 ECTS)
  • wbtp111, wbtp115, Project 3: Ontwerpwedstrijd (7 ECTS)
  • wb1111, Statica
  • wb1217, Sterkteleer FEM practicum
  • wb1387TN, Inleiding Eindige Elementen Methode voor TN (3 ECTS)
  • wb2631, Ontwerpwedstrijd 2e jaar
  • wb3101, Ontwerpen werktuigkundige systemen 1 (3 ECTS)
  • wb3201, Ontwerpen werktuigkundige systemen 2 (3 ECTS)

·       MSc:

  • Wb1443, Matlab in Engineering mechanics,
  • wb2428, Mechanical design in mechatronics (3 ECTS)
  • wb2453, Advanced Fluid / Gas Bearing Design (4 ECTS)
  • wb5400, Mechatronic System Design (3 ECTS)

Ron van Ostayen