Kim did his graduate work in the U.S.

Published: 3 June 2014

Kim Stenholm from Karlskoga has just finished his studies at the Master programme in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in engineering mechanics. Kim's thesis on self-healing materials was conducted in the USA at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Illinois.

What is your thesis about?

– My thesis is about to simulate the process of self-healing materials using computational fluid dynamics, CFD. This is done in order to optimize self-healing so that the material in question may recover their mechanical properties. One of my conclusions is that it is possible to make a simulation that corresponds to the process and that optimization is possible.

What are the applications for self-healing materials?

– It is possible to use for products that are made of either polymer or fiber-reinforced composites, for example in the automotive industry. My research was done at the microscopic level and I did not work with larger applications.

How come you did your graduate work in the U.S.?

– I worked in the research subject of Fluid Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology in the summer 2013 and got a good connection with Professor Staffan Lundström. It was through him I came in contact with the University of Illinois. I always wanted to go to the USA and took the chance when it came along.

What has been the most fun and the most difficult when working with the thesis?

– The most fun has been working with scientists who are extremely talented in their field. The hardest part was to adapt to a new environment (USA) and to take responsibility.

What do you think about the education Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering?

– I am very pleased with the education as it is of high quality and from year one you learn from working in different types of projects. I chose engineering mechanics because I always liked different types of calculations, especially in fluid mechanics. The interest started seven years ago when I competed in cycling and everyone started to shave their legs to reduce air resistance. I was a bit skeptical about that and started to become interested in fluid mechanics.

Would you recommend others to read mechanical engineering?

– If you want to read an education with great width and are interested in the design, production or calculations, then you should read Mechanical Engineering. A mechanical engineer can work with all stages of the product development process.

How have you enjoyed studying at Luleå University of Technology?

– What I liked most about the university is the size of the campus and the good contact with teachers and professors. I was active as a student, and committed myself both within the student union and student recruiting. On a smaller university, it is easier to create a network that covers a large part of the university. I also took the opportunity to study abroad in Vienna in spring 2012, which was possible thanks to the University's extensive international network. That teachers "always" have an open door has also contributed to give students the help and support they need.

What will you do now?

– In the summer I work at the university and complete the project on self-healing materials. This fall I hope to gain employment as a calculation engineer at a company.