Today’s report is filed by Juan Li and Mamta Sharma. Juan comes from China and is studying at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Mamta Sharma comes from India. She is studying at the Department of Ferrous Metallurgy (IEHK) at RWTH-Aachen in Germany.

Today’s highlights

Our visit to Swerea KIMAB was special in so many ways…

Research

We were impressed by the way in which Swerea KIMAB finds the golden middle ground between fundamental research and industrial application. They collaborate closely with universities (KTH for example), and with industry (SSAB for example outsources a lot its research to Swerea). Thus, most of the research here is applied and industrially relevant. This is also reflected in the fact that more than half of the projects at Swerea are funded by industry. Of course, there are also other sources of funding like national and EU programs (19%), RISE (16%), and 12% from membership programs.

“Swerea is quite a different and unique institute in my opinion,” says Juan Li, “not at all like Max Planck Institute for iron research. At first, I thought that if Swerea’s research resources are mainly funded by industry that one of the disadvantages may be that scientists here would be constrained by industry, and have no attention on scientific or academic research. However, Swerea informed us that through their membership programs, they collect ideas from members with interests in the same research areas. This is an effective and efficient way to solve challenges in the development of industry and people. I think that in this way, we can save a lot of money and energy in our research.”

Visit to the laboratories

We also had the opportunity to visit several of Swerea’s laboratories, and to look at some of their experimental equipment and machines. And, David Martin gave us a brief introduction to Gleeble®. For many of us, this was the first time we had seen a Gleeble® Thermal-Mechanical Simulator.

From left to right, Juan Li, Andrea Francesco Ciuffino, Bhushan Rakshe, David Martin (Swerea) and Anindya Das

Experimental simulation and experimental validation are central to the way of working at Swerea. Nonetheless, some researchers and scientists also develop models and carry out materials simulation, mainly using the CALPHAD approach. We noted several impressive facilities: scanning electron microscopes with FEG; EPMA (WDS), TEM.

Vacuum melting and casting facility (up to 2 kg) is quite practical, in that, it is easier to test out new ideas for chemical composition, without much risk in case that it does not work out.
Availability of in-house gas atomization facility that can produce up to 10 kg of metal powder implies that the raw material for SLM 3D printing is available at ease.

“I would have loved to spend more time with researchers in the lab to get a better feel for how their work is going, especially in micromechanics. I had a short discussion with one researcher studying materials deformation. He tried to get information of a sample during in situ tensile testing or in situ compression testing. We have also a lot of work on this. And, we face the same problem, it is not easy to get EBSD during in situ testing,” says Juan Li.

Core values

We were introduced to the working environment at Swerea by Anna Söderbäck from human resources, and were impressed by the physical environment, their core value of “together” meaning helping each other out, as well as the flat organisation structure, and that ideas are always heard and appreciated. 

We were pleased to meet Núria Fuertes Casals, a young research scientist at Swerea. And, we were really inspired when she shared her positive experiences of working at Swerea KIMAB in Kista, the opportunities she has been given, and how she has been able to combine studying, working and having a young family. Núria also told us that her work is stimulating and challenging, as well as developmental.

In fact, everyone we met at Swerea seemed to be so happy to work here.

From left to right, Mamta Sharma, Bhushan Rakshe, Mustafa Seyrek and Lena Ryde (Swerea)

Feedback

It was great to get feedback on our presentations. And, some tough questions from David Martin. This really challenged us in many ways, and not least to reflect on the content and presentation of our material.

Eduardo Pineda Martinez

Thank you

We felt very privileged that Maria Åstrand, the Managing Director of Swerea KIMAB, spent so much of her valuable time with us. We learnt a lot from our discussions with her, and from the information and advice she gave us.

A special thanks to Lena Ryde for making our visit so memorable and encouraging an experience for us all.

We have learned so much today.

From left to right, Juan Li, Xin Pan, Viktor Kripak, Maria Åstrand (Swerea) and Larz Ignberg (Triple Steelix)

All too soon our visit ended, but not before we enjoyed a good dinner courtesy of Swerea KIMAB. After such a fantastic day, we went away enthused and inspired.

https://www.swerea.se/kimab

An evening in Stockholm

We thought, at one point, that we may find ourselves spending the night in Swerea’s car park! We found ourselves locked in! But not for long! Soon we were on our way into central Stockholm where were we were to spend our final night during the NSCAS 2017. After checking into Den Röda Båten (The Red Boat Mälaren) our colleagues set off to explore Stockholm, returning in the early hours, totally exhausted.

https://www.theredboat.com/