My name is Harm Askes and I am a Professor of Computational Mechanics of Multiscale Materials in the Faculty of Engineering Technology.
Previous and current appointments
- 1999-2004: Assistant Professor, Delft University of Technology
- 2004-2021: Professor of Computational Mechanics, University of Sheffield
- 2009-2017: Head of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
- 2017-2021: Head of Interdisciplinary Programmes in Engineering
- 2021: Deputy Vice-President for Education
- 2022-present: Professor of Computational Mechanics of Multiscale Materials, University of Twente
- 2023-2024: Interim Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and Management
- 1993: Propaedeuse Psychology (Leiden University)
- 1995: MSc Civil Engineering (Delft University of Technology)
- 2000: PhD Computational Mechanics (Delft University of Technology)
- 2013: DEng Higher Doctorate (University of Sheffield)
- 2023: University Teaching Qualification (University of Twente)
I am fascinated by how materials and structures react to extreme loading – especially extremely fast loading. There is often a human aspect to this mechanical response, in that people need to be protected from uncomfortable vibrations, unwanted noise, or life-threatening vehicle impact, e.g. Designing a material such that it possesses optimal behaviour at the macroscale means we have to understand the behaviour of its microstructural components – and particularly the interactions between these components.
This is where multiscale modelling comes in. By developing material models and computer simulations, we are able to understand how microscale mechanical behaviour drives macroscale mechanical behaviour – and vice versa. Once we understand this multiscale interaction, we are able to control it and optimise it.
Ongoing work is concentrated on the crossover with advanced manufacturing and the extension from purely mechanical behaviour to coupled physics, such as piezomagnetic and piezoelectric behaviour.
I thoroughly enjoy teaching fundamental mechanics courses such as Statics, Dynamics, and Strength of Materials, but I have also taught advanced courses on Finite Element theory and applications. Because different people learn in different ways, my lectures are a mix of top-down “deduction” (use first principles to establish practical approaches to calculation) and bottom-up “induction” (establish patterns through the systematic study of particular cases).
Whether I teach 30 or 300 students, I make sure I have a good rapport with the students so that questions are encouraged. I have won various prizes and accolades, acknowledging both the quality of my classroom teaching and my leadership as Head of Department.