Chris Wallbrink

Chris Wallbrink, research scientist with the DSTO, winner of the Jaap Schijve award

The National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR) and Delft University of Technology have presented the 2013 Jaap Schijve Award to Australian researcher Dr Chris Wallbrink. The award ceremony took place during the 2013 symposium of the International Committee on Aeronautical Fatigue and Structural Integrity (ICAF), which was held from 3 to 7 June in Jerusalem, Israel. The Jaap Schijve Award is presented every two years to a young researcher who has made an outstanding contribution to advancing scientific knowledge about fatigue and damage tolerance in aircraft, and thus to the development of safer and more durable constructions in aircraft. Researchers from all over the world who are younger than 35 and at the start of their career qualify for the award, which consists of a medal and a cash prize of EUR 5,000. The jury consisted of the CEO of NLR, the Dean of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology, and three experts in durable and safe aircraft construction.

Dr Chris Wallbrink works at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Melbourne, where he is involved in the development and optimization of methods for predicting fatigue initiation and crack growth in aircraft. The relevance of his work has been demonstrated in the maintenance programme for Australia’s P-3 Orion fleet, where application of his models has resulted in major cost savings.

The award is named after Jaap Schijve, former head of NLR’s Structures & Materials division and Professor Emeritus in fatigue and damage tolerance at Delft University of Technology. Jaap Schijve is an internationally renowned expert in fatigue of structures and materials, and co-founded ICAF over fifty years ago. Every two years ICAF organizes a conference and symposium to bring together experts from its fourteen member countries. The event offers a forum for the exchange of ideas and information between representatives of industry, universities, research institutes and regulatory agencies from all over the world.

The presentation of the Jaap Schijve Award to Dr Chris Wallbrink received considerable media attention in Australia (see, for instance,