Student Shares Exchange Experience

Photo Courtesy: TU Delft

Nicolas Wahler/Correspondent

This is a continuation of an article that was published in Issue 8.

Part II; You know the Delft University of Technology?

My university, the Delft University of Technology, is the largest and oldest Dutch public technological university. It is commonly seen as one of the top 20 universities worldwide for engineering in general, but also aerospace engineering. We have eight facilities which cover the whole range of engineering topics (including some economics) and about 19,000 students. Currently, most Bachelor degrees are still taught in Dutch, but the university is working on transitioning everything completely to English. The aerospace faculty offer Master’s programs solely in English. This is a great advantage, as it allows students from all over the world to come to Delft to enrich the faculty with their diversity. Only about half of the Bachelor students in aerospace are Dutch. My friends come from Holland, Germany, Romania, France, Italy, Spain, UK etc. You get to meet many nationalities and learn a lot about them. It can be fascinating to see how the approach to a problem can differ by nationality. Plus, you get to make many great friends all around the globe, the perfect starting point for good networking.

These differences can then be put to productive use in one of our many student teams. We have very successful teams working on small racecars (Formula Student), hydrogen-electric racecars, high-performance bicycles, solar boats, submarines, sounding rockets, and the Hyperloop. Formula Student is consistently amongst the top three in their races. Hyperloop won SpaceX’s competition in January, and the rocket team is currently working on their third (European) altitude record for student-built rockets. Their distinguishing feature is that all design and development is conducted by the society. Thus, both rockets and engines are designed and produced by students. The next project, Stratos III, is set for launch next year. It will incorporate the newest solid-propellant engine, active stabilization and a new mortar-type release mechanism for the parachute. Hopefully, we will finally beat our self-set goal of reaching an altitude of 50 km (31 miles). Next, to this, they have many groups working on hybrid, liquid and cryogenic engines, as well as refined aerodynamics, active stabilization, and new innovative recovery methods. All production is done at a huge workshop in a separate building solely dedicated to these student projects.

TU Delft also strongly encourages student start-ups. They have specific grants and facilities where these companies can move. One very successful example is ‘Innovative Solutions in Space (ISIS).’ They started producing miniature equipment for cube-sats. Currently, you can order custom built satellites from their website, including handling and launching into orbit.

Now, this may sound like the aerospace faculty is rather space-focused. That is not quite the case. They operate ten subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic wind tunnels, a full-motion research simulator, and their research aircraft, a Cessna Citation II. They also have large material production and testing facilities. As a Bachelor student, during your project work, you will be using most of this equipment. During the first two years, practicals will be held in subsonic and supersonic wind tunnels. You will design, build, and test different structural parts. In your final year, you will also get to fly the simulator and do flight tests with the Citation. All these facilities can be used for Masters and doctorate research.

In contrast to Embry-Riddle, we do not have any specializations in the Bachelor’s degree. We have courses in aeronautics, astronautics, and propulsion all together; we only specialize in our Master’s programs. There we have very diverse programs in Control & Simulation, Operations, Flight Performance & Propulsion, Spaceflight, Aerospace Structures & Materials, and Aerodynamics & Wind Energy. Delft University also offers further specializations for precisely the field of study you love most. While they are all challenging 2-year programs, you will get a good quality education, learn a lot, and have access to great facilities to support your degree field. Amongst others, the admission requirement is a CGPA of 3.0 or higher.

As for student life, Delft is a nice city: the university is so big, everything is very student friendly, and you can get discounts on restaurants and bars. And with Belgium and Germany as neighboring countries, there is a very good selection of tasty beers available everywhere (18+ only). For parties, you can even go to the big cities of Den Haag or Rotterdam via 10-minute train ride. We have a bar run by our student association-a great place to meet all the other Aerospace students.  Once a year we have a big party, Airbase, where the facility gets transformed into a big club with two dancefloors. It is really fun and is a great break from the usual studying in that building.

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about student life halfway around the globe. If I sparked your interest in a study abroad (or more), you can go to the Office of Global Engagement for more information on the requirements of Embry-Riddle. You can contact me at wahlern@my.erau.edu for more information about TU Delft and life in Europe in general.

Hopefully, I can meet some of you in Delft in the future for some delicious Stroopwafels.