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Reuben Govender

Dr Reuben Govender

Senior Lecturer

: +27 21 650 4526


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Dr Reuben Govender in a testing laboratory


Personal Details

Reuben Govender completed his primary and secondary schooling at St Charles College, Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu Natal. After relocating to Cape Town, he completed a B.ScEng (Mechanical) with First Class Honours at UCT in 2001. 

Reuben was employed at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station from 2002 to 2004, working in Operating and Component Engineering. He returned to UCT to further his studies, completing an M.Sc in 2005. Reuben's dissertation, "A Numerical Investigation of Dispersion in Hopkinson Pressure Bars", received the SASOL Medal for best MSc in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2005. 

Having built a foundation on theory and data processing with Hopkinson Pressure Bars, Reuben pursued a PhD which he completed in 2011, entitled "Characterisation of Glass Fibre Polypropylene and GFPP based Fibre Metal Laminates at High Strain Rates". This involved developing a novel configuration of a HPB for flexural loading of specimens with relatively large deflections to failure. Reuben also developed an interest in delamination of Fibre Reinforced Polymers during this project. While busy with his PhD, Reuben undertook a collaborative project with Dr Luke Louca of Imperial College London, investigating high strain rate delamination of glass fibre reinforced epoxy. This project required using a HPB configured for spalling failure. 

Reuben is currently employed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering as a Senior Lecturer, teaching in Design, Mechanics and Manufacturing.

Dr Govender received a Fulbright African Research Scholar Award in 2018. The Fulbright fellowship enabled Reuben to spend time at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, learning about 3D printing of soft materials such as elastomers and biomaterials. 


Current Research

Impact loading of fibre reinforced polymers often leads to delamination failures. Delamination, being a subsurface failure, may not present any visible damage to the structure, while still weakening it significantly. Thus understanding delamination initiation and growth is of great importance to designers who use fibre reinforced polymers. A novel impact bend test apparatus, based on Hopkinson Pressure Bars, is being used to investigate impact loading of FRPs and the associated delamination. Conventional Split HPB apparatus is also being used to investigate the in-plane and through-thickness properties of FRPs.

Dr Govender's primary research interest is in characterisation of materials, both at high strain rates and materials which present challenges for standard testing methods. He has investigated materials ranging from the strong and lightweight (FRPs, sandwich panels), strong and heavy (rock), engineering metals (various steels, titanium alloys, aluminium alloys, copper) to biomaterials. Reuben has a growing research area in biomaterials, particularly skin and other membrane tissues. He has developed experience in design of experimental rigs, instrumentation and non-contact based measurements such as Digital Image Correlation through his work on these various materials. 

Dr Govender is also responsible for the 3D Printing facilities in the department, and is building research on characterisation and post processing of polymer parts manufactured by Fused Deposition Modeling. 



Some recent publications:

Journal Papers

  • MA Kariem, RC Santiago, RA Govender, DW Shu, D Ruan, GN Nurick, M Alves,  G Lu, GS Langdon, "Round-Robin test of Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar", International Journal of Impact Engineering, Vol. 126, pp 62-75, 2019
  • GS Langdon, CJ von Klemperer, GF Volschenk, T van Tonder, RA Govender, "The influence of interfacial bonding on the response of lightweight aluminium and glass fibre metal laminate panels subjected to air-blast loading", Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, Vol. 232, pp 1402-1417,, 2018
  • JK McGuire, RA Govender, P. Park-Ross, JJ Fagan, "Endolaryngeal anterior commissure stent—Cheap and easy", The Laryngoscope, Vol. 127, pp 1869-1872, , 2017
  • A Mudau, RA Govender, TR Stacey, "A step towards combating rockburst damage by using sacrificial support", The Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Vol. 116, pp 1065-1074,, 2016
  • RA Govender, RJ Curry, "The “Open” Hopkinson Pressure Bar: Towards Addressing Force Equilibrium in Specimens with Non-uniform Deformation", Journal of Dynamic Behavior of Materials, Vol. 2, pp 43-49,, 2016
  • RA Govender, GS Langdon, GN Nurick, TJ Cloete, " Impact delamination testing of fibre reinforced polymers using Hopkinson pressure bars", Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Vol. 101, pp 80-90,, 2013
  • R.A. Govender, L.A. Louca, A.S. Fallah, A. Pullen and G.N. Nurick, “Determining the through-thickness properties of thick glass fibre reinforced polymers at high strain rates”, Journal of Composite Materials, Vol. 46, pp 1219-1228,, 2012

Published Conferences Proceedings

  • A Mudau, TR Stacey, RA Govender, "Experimental investigations into sacrificial support for containment of rockburst damage", Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Deep and High Stress Mining, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, Australia, pp 435-446,, 2017
  • RA Govender, GS Langdon, GN Nurick, "Impact Bend Tests Using Hopkinson Pressure Bars", in Dynamic Behavior of Materials, Volume 1, Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics, 2013 Summer Conference, Lombard, USA,, 2013
  • R.A. Govender, G.S. Langdon, G.N. Nurick and T.J. Cloete, “High Strain Rate Compression Testing of Glass Fibre Reinforced Polypropylene”, Accepted for presentation at 10th International Conference on the Mechanical and Physical Behaviour of Materials under Dynamic Loading (DYMAT) – September 2012, Freiburg, Germany
  • R.A.Govender, G.S. Langdon, T.J. Cloete and G.N. Nurick, "High rate delamination testing of fibre reinforced composites, using a Hopkinson Pressure Bar", 6th International Conference on the Fracture of Polymers, Composites and Adhesives, Les Diablerets, Switzerland, September 2011.
  • R.A. Govender, L. Louca, A. Pullen and G. Nurick, “High strain rate delamination of glass fibre reinforced polymers using a Hopkinson bar configured for spalling”, DYMAT 2009 - 9th International Conference on the Mechanical and Physical Behaviour of Materials under Dynamic Loading, Brussels, Belgium, DOI: 10.1051/dymat/2009064
  • R.A. Govender, T.J. Cloete and G.N. Nurick, "A numerical investigation of dispersion in Hopkinson Pressure Bar experiments", Journal de Physique IV, Proceedings DYMAT 2006, 8th International Conference on Physical and Mechanical Behaviour of Materials Under Dynamic Loading, 521-526, DOI: 10.1051/jp4:2006134080

Unpublished Conference Presentations

  • A Mudau, TR Stacey, RA Govender, "An Experimental Study of Dynamic Compressive Strength of Bushveld Complex Brittle Rocks under Impact Loading", 17th International Conference on Experimental Mechanics and Applications (ICEMA), Paris, France, 2015