A. (Antonis) Vakis, Prof Dr
Trained as a mechanical engineer, Prof. dr. A.I. Vakis is a specialist in the field of tribology –the science and technology of interacting surfaces in relative motion– and a generalist performing and leading award-winning research on renewable energy and advanced manufacturing. He has published on nanoscale contacts at the head-disk interface of hard disk drives, and investigated fundamental aspects of the nature of contact at the atomic level. His group has expertise on computational methods including molecular dynamics and finite elements, and develops multi-physics models that can be used, for example, to account for tribological effects at critical interfaces in engineering systems. The bulk of research currently performed by the group focuses on offshore renewable energy harvesting and storage technologies. Projects in this direction include wave energy, where the group investigates dense arrays of wave energy converters, and energy storage, were the group develops novel underwater pumped hydro storage together with spin-off company Ocean Grazer BV. Computational fluid dynamics and the boundary element method are used to study fluid-structure interaction, hydrodynamics and hydraulics, while experimental measurements on scale prototypes are used to validate models. To this end, the group manages experimental facilities that include, among others, a wave tank and hydraulic systems such as a scale prototype of the power take-off system for wave energy. Prof. dr. Vakis has also worked on advanced manufacturing in collaboration with industry, for example, to develop digital twins of forming processes, while he also collaborates closely with academic partners on topics ranging from computational fluid dynamics to geomechanics.