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Polymer Engineering

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Sustainable plastics processing

The Professorship for Polymer Engineering was founded in 2008 by Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in conjunction with Wavin. The goal was, and still is, to use applied research as a tool to bridge the knowledge gap between industry and education.

The team specializes in sustainable raw material use and processing. Recycling, eco-impact and energy savings are therefore at the top of the agenda. Their activities in the field of Industrial Additive Manufacturing and Smart Industry 4.0 aim to improve the competitive position of the Dutch manufacturing industry.

Our research projects

This research group specializes in Engineering & Design for the plastics and manufacturing industries and generates output in the field of applied science. The team is a fusion of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Product Design and Electrical Engineering. This practice-oriented research takes place within the research themes hybrid design, sustainable production, industrial additive manufacturing and circular economy. The knowledge we gain in this process, flows straight back into education and business. Below we list some of our projects.

Railway sleepers from old railway coaches

The NS (Dutch Railways) were looking for ways to reuse old train materials. Until recently, the discarded interior wall panelling and luggage racks were not reusable or recyclable. An innovative technology was developed to reuse End-of-Life composites to give these materials a new purpose. Associate lector Albert ten Busschen: 'By machining  the train parts in mega-shredders, long flakes are created that can be reused as a raw material in new construction material. From guiding beams to desks. And now also as sleepers.'


The core business of the Professorship is research, but the team is also responsible for the content of two minor programmes: Polymer Product Engineering in Zwolle and Composite in Almere, and the unique master's programme Polymer Engineering(opens in new tab) (together with NHL Stenden).


The industry is always looking for well-trained technicians. The research activities of the Professorship respond to this by strengthening the (international) competitive position of the business community in the east of the Netherlands and beyond. As a social partner, the business community is directly involved in the education and research programme.


On 22 November 2021, Margie Topp won the Deltapremie for her research into 'difficult polymers'. Every year, 1.5 billion car tyres worldwide reach the end of their lifespan. A mountain of waste that can no longer be used. The grant, an initiative of Regieorgaan SIA and the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, was awarded for the second time and is a recognition of the valuable contribution that professors and their research groups make to society.

Read the full article on (in Dutch)(opens in new tab)

RAAK award

In November 2021, another prestigious prize went to Polymer Engineering. Associate professor Albert ten Busschen received the RAAK award for his research into hybrid reuse of polymers. Under Albert's direction, bank revetments from windmill blades and railway track components from old NS interiors have been made. The RAAK jury is 'impressed by the wide range of products that are difficult to recycle and to which the method can be applied. This research offers a solution for a growing problem: plastics that are very functional in their use, but difficult to recycle'.

Read the full article on (in Dutch)(opens in new tab)

Our professors and researchers

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Margie Topp, professor

Margie Topp is professor in Polymer Engineering at Windesheim and specializes in research in the field of composites and polymer technology.

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Albert ten Busschen, associate professor

Albert ten Busschen is associate professor Polymer Engineering and leads the research programme on Reuse of End-of-Life Composites.

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Geert Heideman, associate professor

Geert Heideman is associate professor of Polymer Engineering at Windesheim and is responsible for the Rubber Recycling and Industrial Additive Manufacturing programmes.

Want to know more?

Would you like to work with us on a research project? Get in touch to discuss the possibilities. in new tab)