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"A person can contribute in so many ways to the society by studying material science"

Publicerad: 23 mars 2022

Meet Farid Akhtar, professor in Engineering Materials and responsible for Material technology for green transformation within Engineering Materials at LTU.

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Hello Farid, who are you?

I am professor in Engineering Materials and I am responsible for Material technology for green transformation within our group. I have a PhD in Material Science, and after that I did my post-doc at Stockholms University in Materials Chemistry. I stayed there for five years as a senior scientist before moving to Luleå and Luleå University of Technology. But professors are not machines, so when I am not working I enjoy playing badminton at professional level in the Swedish national team for seniors  and I watch TV a lot. 

In what courses do you meet the students?

I meet students in almost all courses at advanced level. For example, materials characterization, phase transformation, nanomaterials, deformation and fracture and surface engineering. I also take part in supervision of students.

What is the best thing with being a teacher?

Being a teacher is to see your students develop during the course, and seeing their learning curve growing every week. How the students start to participate more and more in the course and helping them to pass over their thresholds, so that they can build on their own knowledge. That is what I like the most.

Why should students study material science?

First, I think they should realize that materials are all around us. We are surrounded of marterials. There are different kinds of materials: polymers, ceramics, metals. Even the gases are materials which are the atmosphere around us. Materials make our life easier in many different ways, on top of that materials also impact the environment. So, we need to design high performing materials that improve our life and at the same time improve our environment by cleaning the air or the water etc. A person can contribute in so many ways to the society by studying material science. 

What is you research about?

I design and structure materials at all length scales to maximize their performance. I start to control the material properties from atomic scale such as chemical composition then the mesostructure and nanostructure to the microstructure. By controlling all the length scales, I design materials with better performance, with longer service life and lower environmental impact.

What makes your research area interesting?

My goal is cleaner air for everyone. If we can achieve a clean environment with cleaner air and cleaner water around us - it means that my research is contributing to societal aspects.

My research contributes for example by reducing the NOx, by capture and conversion from industrial processes so that they are not released into the atmosphere. We design materials that convert NOx into harmless compounds and in turn we contribute to the human health.

We also need to move away from our fossil fuel dependence as early as possible. For that we need better materials and renewable energy. I try to contribute with my research, by designing new materials that reduce our dependency of fossil fuel and maximizes the use of renewable energy in the energy infrastructure.