The main aim is the development of multiphasic materials with specific functionalities. Thereto, the development of microstructure as a function of component properties and flow conditions is studied as well as the relations between material structure and properties. The material characteristics that are at the center of attention are rheological and (di)electric properties. A variety of material types is studied, all with a complex microstructure. These range from traditional polymers over polymer nanocomposites and polymer blends to food materials such as cell wall suspensions, emulsions, or solutions and gels of proteins and polysaccharides. A variety of material characterization techniques are used but the research relies heavily on in-situ time-resolved characterization during flow using rheology, rheo-optical and rheo-dielectric techniques to generate insight in the development of material structure and corresponding properties during processing. Often, dedicated experimental setups such as flow cells or processing equipment are designed and developed.
Formulating multi-phasic materials and engineering their microstructure is essential to integrate various functionalities in the materials of the future
Ruth Cardinaels studied chemical engineering at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium). In 2005, she graduated (Summa cum laude) with a master thesis about the “Pressure dependence of the viscosity of immiscible polymer blends”. In 2010 she obtained a PhD (Summa cum laude with congratulations of the board of examiners) from the same university on “Droplet deformation, breakup and coalescence in shear flow: Effects of confinement and component viscoelasticity”. After her PhD, she continued to work in the Soft Matter Rheology and Technology group as a postdoctoral research fellow. During this period she also completed the “Specific teacher training in natural sciences” at KU Leuven. From april 2013 - september 2013 she was a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the mechanical engineering department of Princeton University (USA). Her PhD and postdoctoral research was funded by personal fellowships of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen). In september 2014 she became an Assistant Professor (UD) in the mechanical engineering department at Eindhoven University of Technology. In 2015 she received the Distinguished Young Rheologist Award and instrument grant from TA Instruments, in 2020 an ERC Starting Grant and in 2022 she was appointed as Mercator Fellow in the Materials for Additivie Manufacturing priority programme of the German Research Foundation. Ruth is currently a part-time Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at TU Eindhoven and an Associate Professor in the Chemical Engineering department at KU Leuven (Belgium).
Dynamics of particle-covered droplets in shear flowSoft Matter (2016)
Evaluation and comparison of routes to obtain pressure coefficients from high pressure capillary rheometry dataRheologica Acta (2007)
Laser sintering of polymer particle pairs studied by in-situ visualizationSoft Matter (2019)
Dielectric properties of phase separated blends containing a microcapacitor network of carbon nanotubes : compatibilization by a random or block copolymerMacromolecules (2017)
Lubrication analysis of interacting rigid cylindrical particles in confined shear flowPhysics of Fluids (2015)
Current Educational Activities
- Professor, KU Leuven