2 september 2024 t/m 2 februari 2025 -- open
Jaap Janssens

For content information:
Ing. Jaap Janssens MSc
E-mail: jaap.janssens@han.nl
Tel: 0646248665

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Lectures, exams, reports are in English (individual work is allowed in Dutch).

During minor Lightweight Structural Vehicle Design you will learn about the practice of modern vehicle design based on a solid theoretical foundation. You will learn to use the latest software tools and visit leading companies in this dynamic field of engineering.

Through lightweight, design solutions are found to save weight, materials and scarce resources, lower energy consumption and limit Co2 and NOx emissions in vehicles. Lightweight design is a dynamic field where new materials, methods of manufacturing, and design tools enable engineers to improve vehicle durability and performance.

Topics covered are:

  • Finite element theory (with linear algebra) and practical FEA-CAE exercises (using Abaqus software)
  • Lightweight design and construction using advanced machanics of materials and mechanics of composite materials
  • Design and production using conventional materials, composite and sandwiche materials
  • Modelling and testing of adhesive material in Abaqus.
  • Project: design, production and testing (validation) of a composite beam construction.
  • Visits to various companies & organizations involved in state-of-the-art lightweight design and manufacturing (approximately 5 visits per year).

Block exchange course
This exchange course is offered once a year during the autumn semester.

This also is a specialization exchange course, enabling you to further develop your skills and knowledge within your own profession.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes listed below will help you decide whether this exchange course matches your personal goals.

After completing this minor, you will be able to work as a lightweight design engineer at an engineering firm, or manufacturing plant. You will have developed know-how and skills to initialize and realize innovative solutions for the development of lighter vehicles.

You will study:

  • Linear algebra
  • Mechanics of materials (including anisotropic and non-linear), stress and strain transformations, failure theories, energy methods, mechanics of composite materials.
  • Structural integrity (strength and stability) of light constructions, including buckling and durability.
  • Foundation and basic principles of Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Design, construction and production in composite materials


  • Setting up of a design brief.
  • Design of a load bearing (automotive) construction. 
  • Research & validation.
  • Working in international groups.
  • Managing your personal development

Admission requirements

The course is open to technical Bachelors students from the following courses:

  • Mechanical Engineering;
  • Automotive Engineering;
  • Aeronautical or Aviation Engineering;
  • Or any equivalent technical bachelors level course.

The course provides an advanced level of development engineering and requires students to have completed 2.5 years of prior study. A comparable level of construction and testing knowledge is necessary for students who come from outside the HAN engineering or automotive bachelor. If you are uncertain about this then you can contact Mr Janssens.

An exchange course will be of most benefit to you if it complements your studies and/or your professional profile, is at an appropriate level and does not overlap with your major.

For whom?

This course is open to all Dutch and international students who have an interest in this topic, regardless of the degree courses they are following. Lectures and exams are in English. Reports have be written in English, individual work may be written in English or Dutch.

Lightweight construction engineers are expected to have an open mind for innovation and development, and the strong will to master these skills. 

Nice to know

A sufficient level of English fluency is a prerequisite for admission to this course. For example:

  • An IELTS score of at least 6.5; or
  • A TOEFL score of at least 90 (Internet-based), 232 (computer-based); or
  • A Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE), a Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

During this exchange course your performance will be assessed in the following ways:

  • The course consists of 2 terms, each with a duration of 9-10 weeks. You will have exams during the two theoretical terms.
  • The modules are assessed in the form of written exams, practice reports, assessments and assignment reports.
  • The design project and adhesive modelling assignment are assessed by a report and a presentation.
  • The practical and the guided tours with lectures are assessed based on active participation with satisfactory results.

Students are expected to be available from Monday to Friday, so doing a part-time job or taking other subjects from Monday to Friday is not an option. 

Study load
The study load mainly comprises contact hours with the tutor, tutorials, practice, self-study hours and assignment hours. It is assumed that students in this course will put in 840 clock hours (30 European credit points).

Working methods

  • Lectures and practical work 4-5 days per week
  • Exams
  • Company visits and guest lectures
  • Exam re-sits (if necessary)

The teaching staff will divide students into groups for practical work and into teams for the project. The teams will be multidisciplinary: you will be working with students from different backgrounds.

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