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Hans Hansson, CEO of Swerea SICOMP and now also an honorary doctor. Photo: Ateljé Grodan. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Strong, lightweight and resilient

Published: 13 November 2015

He gave up his dream of becoming a professional sailor, instead he became CEO of the institute Swerea SICOMP. Under his leadership, the research institute has developed into one of Europe's leaders in fiber composites, where the collaboration with Luleå University of Technology has played a key role. Hans Hansson is one of this year's honorary doctorates.

Swerea SICOMP has under Hans Hansson's management developed into a leading international research institute. It is a strong research partner for the Swedish as well as the European industry and academia, not least for Luleå University of Technology.

– An important part of our success is the cooperation with Luleå University of Technology. At Swerea SICOMP, we integrate the university's scientific expertise into technologies, says Hans Hansson.

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Hans Hansson. Photo: Ateljé Grodan.

Sailing interest decided career

In 1980, Hans Hansson took a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. For this career choice he thanks his interest in sailing.

– My first career goal was to become a professional sailor, but I was not good enough, then I wanted to be a race boat designer instead. Therefore I started studying at the university where I focused on material found in racing boats, such as composite materials and aluminum. After my degree I chose the industry instead of becoming a race boat designer. I started at ABB and eventually at Swerea SICOMP.

Material of the future

In his presentation, which was titled "Strong, lightweight and resilient", Hans Hansson also talked about the drivers behind current research and the technologies and applications he sees in the future.

– Future materials need to be environmentally friendly, light and strong to cope with future demands. The airline industry has already come a long way, an aeroplane mainly consists of composite materials. Cars will need to be lighter to meet future emission requirements and there fiber composites will play an important role. I have, among other things, great hopes on our cooperation with Volvo Cars and Gestamp HardTech. Another interesting application is the use of carbon fiber as structural batteries where the body of the car can store and charge electricity.

– There is also great potential for high-performance bio-based biocomposites. For example by processing the forest based raw material lignin. It can be refined to carbon fiber without having to use petroleum-based raw materials, says Hans Hansson.