Interview with research talents

Frank Niessen
M.Sc. Materials and Manufacturing Engineering

Frank's background
I started my studies with a parallel track of undergraduate studies as a mechanical engineer in manufacturing and vocational training as an industrial mechanic. My increasing interest in materials led to graduate studies at DTU in Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. After graduation I worked as a research assistant as a part of the European project “Z phase strengthened steels for ultra-supercritical power plants”, where I contributed with materials characterization.

Present your project
In June 2015 I started on the PhD-project “Supermartensitic stainless steels for oil and gas applications”. The project deals with a grade of stainless steel alloys, which have the prospect of partly replacing Duplex-steels in offshore pipeline applications. The alloy yields its attractive set of properties by heat-treatments, which lead to phase transformations in the material. The aim of the project is to generate a deeper understanding of these phase transformations and their relation to the alloy properties, in order to design optimized alloys for the application in the oil and gas sector. This is achieved by materials characterization, thermodynamics and kinetics modeling, and mechanical testing.

What do you expect the major challenges in your area of study will be?
The major challenges of my study are the wide range of methods, which have to be employed, in order to increase the understanding of this material. Such methods range from standard microstructure characterization and mechanical testing to imaging and compositional mapping on the atom scale, advanced in-situ heat treatment studies and modeling of the identified mechanisms. Application of these collaborative methods requires tedious planning in order to combine the results for the solution of a greater problem.

How do you plan to contribute in solving these problems?
My broad undergraduate and graduate studies helped me to develop competences in a wide range of fields, which enables me to understand and apply a wide range of methods. Furthermore, communication with experts on the individual fields is important to me in order to get the necessary support on some decisive challenges and develop long-lasting and fruitful collaborations.

What are your expectations for your future career?
I am anticipating to continue in metallurgy research. I see the future in materials research in a greater interplay of computational and experimental methods and am aiming on being a driving factor in this development.

Learn more about Frank's PhD project here.
6 APRIL 2020