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"I appreciate the freedom working as a PhD-student"

Published: 24 March 2014

Stephan Schnabel´s research is aimed at extending the life of elasto- hydrodynamic lubricated (EHL) contacts. In interfaces with high load, such as ball bearings and gearboxes, the pressure is so high that the surfaces deform elastically. The lubricant works to separate the surfaces with a lubricating film, and lowers heat.

Stephan recently presented his licentiate thesis and is now continuing in the same field for the dissertation. In his research he studies the wear behavior of EHL-contacts, which is done by studying surfaces vibrations and acoustics. Stephan is also studying how various additives in the lubricant can extend the life of the surfaces. The vision involves having EHL-contacts who can adapt to the prevailing operating conditions instead of being "designed for life".

– The benefits are both economic and environmental. Active lubrication, in for example a ball bearing, increases its service life, and if the components last longer you can use fewer resources, reducing environmental impact, says Stephan Schnabel, PhD student at SFK-LTU UTC.

Stayed in Sweden

Stephan Schnabel comes from Dietfurt in Germany and took a ”Diplom-ingenieur” in mechatronics. As part of the education, he decided to read a year at the University of Gävle. The idea was to return home, but instead he moved further north and started 2011 as a PhD-student at Luleå University of Technology.

– There were several reasons why I chose Luleå University of Technology. On the one hand I liked Sweden during my study abroad in Gävle, and it was a very interesting project to work with. I appreciate the freedom to work as a doctoral student in Sweden, being able to run my own project as I please. In that sense, Sweden differs from Germany.

Strong support from colleagues

Besides working in the SFK-LTU UTC, Stephan Schnabel is part of the Division of Machine Elements, where tribology research is of high international standard. He is happy with both LTU as a workplace and Luleå as a city to live in.

– LTU and Machine Elements is an excellent employer. It's very good friendship between colleagues and there is a strong support. The basic atmosphere is always positive. Luleå as a city offers very good quality of life, especially if you like hiking, skiing and nature, says Stephan Schnabel.

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