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Topics included in VTT Graduate School in 2011

1. Life time reliability solutions

Modern manufacturing companies want to be able to manage the complete Life Cycle of their products i.e. they put a lot of effort in Product Life Cycle Engineering (PLCE) and Product Life Cycle Simulation (PLCS). From business point of view the use phase of products is of high interest i.e. manufacturing companies want to expand their responsibilities towards providing services for maintaining their products throughout their complete Life Cycle.

In order to be efficient and competitive these kinds of services are managed by following Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) strategy which in turn gives high demands for developing Predictive Health Monitoring (PHM) techniques. It is quite typical that modern production machinery has only a limited number of extremely critical components (e.g. bearings of a wind turbine), which are costly and difficult to monitor in such a way that reliable prognosis of their condition and need for maintenance can be made. In order to be effective the used PHM methods need to be automatic and very reliable. Through the penetration of new sensor types (such as based on MEMS) to the Condition Monitoring market and the rapid increase of processing power high potential for PHM exist assuming similar development of classification and modelling techniques (such as Fuzzy Logic (FL), Neural Networks (NN) and Data Mining (DM)) to manage the prognosis of wear and failure development. The potential provided by wireless communication and internet are natural elements in the growth of this kind of information (e-maintenance) scenario providing diagnosis services as a cloud service from the manufacturer. The aim of the PhD work is to carry out research for supporting the above defined scenario.

Principal ScientistErkki Jantunen
Student, Research Scientist Idriss El-Thalji

2. Foresight and innovation systems

The research on this position focuses on foresight of socio-technical transitions and the evolution of innovation practices and systems. Especially the following three aspects are emphasized: foresight (emerging technologies and applications, futures of markets and regulatory frameworks, regional foresight); innovation systems and innovation dynamics; and systemic socio-technical transformations. Due to the highly interdisciplinary nature of the research field, the background of the candidate could be in following academic fields: social sciences (e.g. sociology, political science, human geography), in economics and business studies, in humanities (e.g. cultural history, anthropology) or in engineering (e.g. industrial engineering and management, systems analysis).

The on-going research project focuses on the creation of expert-oriented foresight knowledge. The first objective is to explore the different aspects and dimensions of foresight knowledge through the lenses of knowledge management and innovation theories. Specific focus is set on social interpretations and embeddedness of foresight knowledge, and how this knowledge is translated into actions. The second objective is to create a systemic frame and categories to analyze the foresight knowledge. The project aims at constructing a conceptual model of foresight knowledge creation, and utilizes it to explain the connections between micro-level actions, such as the methods used in a foresight workshop or the type of presentation used, and macro-level phenomena, such as the implementation of strategy. The empirical analysis utilizes different materials from workshops and policy arenas. Empirical examples cover e.g. experimental foresight workshop practices, the building of common vision in companies and action research on systemic change in renewable energy.

Senior Scientist Toni Ahlqvist
Student, Research Engineer Mikko Dufva

3. Intelligent transport systems

The position deals with business models, value networks and market analysis of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). The aim is to boost time-to-market of both ITS products and services by finding the critical success factors of building functional value chains and understanding the market context. The work is an elemental part of VTT’s innovation programme INTRANS. The programme generates new network business and targets to enhance collaboration within the ITS community in Finland as well as remove business barriers. Piloting of new services and concepts and exploiting existing innovations that support business will improve operational conditions, increase markets’ efficiency and help to build multi-actor export concepts.

To successfully fulfil this position requires a combination of systems engineering, business economics and transportation engineering.

Principal Scientist Pekka Leviäkangas
Student, Research Scientist Zulkarnain

4. Intelligent wind turbine blade technology for arctic conditions

Currently numerical modelling and simulation of icing for wind turbines is applied to gain understanding in the adverse effects of harsh winter conditions on turbine performance and to develop measures to prevent or minimize that. One such measure is the installation of a rotor blade heating system. In combination with a smart control system for the heat supply, the system can prevent the ice build-up on the most critical parts of the rotor blades. In that way it helps to ensure continuous and efficient operation of the wind turbine, reduce the risks of ice throw and reduce the impact of ice loading on the structure and wind turbine components. With regard to the latter, further research is needed to be able to predict the ice loading, calculate the respective response from the blade and turbine structure, and analyse and quantify the effect of an active blade heating system. The research will be conducted using existing and to-be-developed computational models as well as well as measurement data from the field. A coupling is to be established between the models for ice accretion simulation and structural analysis in order to study the interaction between icing and ice induced blade dynamics. Results from this research can provide a scientific basis for the certification of wind turbines in cold climate.

Contact: Senior Scientist Jeroen Dillingh, Principal Scientist Hannele Holttinen
Student, Research Scientist Ayabakan Saygin

5. Foam physics

Applications of foam are strategically important in many technological areas at VTT. Novel fibrous paper-like structures can be formed using foam as the material carrier phase instead of water. Solid foams are another active research topic with many industrial applications. Despite increasing technological importance, there has been rather little fundamental research in this area and more understanding of basic mechanisms related to fibre foam forming and stabilization is needed. The graduate student will be a part of a project group in a large research consortium with both academic and industrial partners.

The work concentrates on the fundamental questions related to foam rheology and dynamic interaction of water-based foams with solid particles and fibers. The work involves experimental laboratory and pilot-scale work, foam and material characterization, and modeling of the forming and stabilization dynamics together with final structure.

Principal Scientist Jukka Ketoja
Student, Research Scientist Ahmad Al-Qararah

6. Modelling assisted wear research

Wear and friction is today of great interest both in research and in the industry due to their considerable economical impact and influence on energy consumption and emissions. New advanced techniques are today available in material characterisation and experiments on micro and nanolevel as well as for advanced manufacturing methods for novel material solutions aiming at controlled wear. Computer modelling of material processing, microstructures, properties and performance is rapidly developing boosted by improved software tools and hardware capacity.

The aim of the research is to develop methods and techniques for advanced wear prediction and friction control in machines and devices. The studied materials are surface coatings and advanced powder metallurgical materials. The new VTT approach is to combine tribological laboratory measurements and material characterisation with material multiscale modelling and performance simulation, starting from process parameters and physical phenomena.

The position offers a possibility to join an international world leading research group on wear modelling and work with technical and scientific challenges in the international front end.

Research Professor Kenneth Holmberg
Student, Research Scientist Richard Waudby

7. Fibre based products

This position focuses in the conversion of fibre raw material into new fibrous structures and packaging materials by using conventional and emerging technologies. A central aim is to improve the formability of the material, i.e. the ability of material to undergo plastic deformation without damage. Formability cannot be significantly improved without definite modifications of the fibres and fibre network structure. Target is to improve the formability and performance of the paper-based materials in thermoforming processes such as deep-drawing.

The position requires understanding in the chemistry and structure of natural fibres, their processing into fibre-based structures, such as composites and paper board.

Principal Scientist Elias Retulainen
Student, Research Scientist Alexey Vishtal

8. Polymeric micro- and nanophotonic devices for chemical sensing

The objective of the research is connected to an EU-funded project that aims to develop a mass-producible disposable nano-photonic sensor chip for generic multi-parameter sensing applications with high sensitivity against selected analyte. Industrial demonstrators include air quality and pharmaceutical cleanliness as well as food safety. Conventional analytical techniques are usually expensive both in terms of personnel and equipment; in addition, one of the principal requirement is to perform screening tests without specialized infrastructure. Limitations of current sensors include large dimensions, sometimes limited sensitivity and inherent single-parameter measurement capability. Two nanophotonic based sensing methods, interferometric and Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS), are utilized for environmental and pharmaceutical applications. In the interferometric method, the reaction of analyte molecule(s) with the functionalized surface changes the effective refractive index of the system, and thus shifts the resonance peak of the optical circuit, that can be measured. In the Raman method, the sensor surface transforms the Raman scattering, which is simultaneously enhanced by the nano-structure. Besides the actual sensing, critical aspects in the integrated optical sensor circuits are the in and out coupling issues and integration with the read-out device.

Depending on the background and research interests of the applicant, the actual research work can include following topics:
- micro- and nanofabrication of polymeric photonic devices,
- physical modeling of nanophotonic device structures and integrated optical circuits,
- optical characterization,
- developing a sensor interface with available read-out systems.

Research Professor Pentti Karioja
Student, Research Scientist Masuda Noriyuki

Additional information

Kristiina Poppius-Levlin
Principal Scientist, Head of VTT Graduate School
+358 20 722 7489
Conditions of employment, relocation and accommodation

Additional information

Kristiina Poppius-Levlin
Principal Scientist, Head of VTT Graduate School
+358 20 722 7489
Conditions of employment, relocation and accommodation