Meyer Turku is innovating the use of steel with the aim of building a lightweight cruise ship in 2025. The shipyard was able to accelerate this work as PhD in Technology, Ingrit Lillemäe-Avi joined their team to study the fatigue of high strength steel. The project turned out to be a perfect match for both parties.
Ingrit finalized her PhD studies on thin steel decks for passenger ships at Aalto University in late 2014. Soon after that, she learned from her professor about DIMECC's new Post Docs in Companies program. Ingrit applied for the very first PoDoCo round in 2015 and was awarded a one-year grant by the Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion.
Since Aalto and Meyer Turku have had several common projects in recent years, Ingrit had got acquainted with the leading shipyard already when preparing her master studies. Originally Estonian, it was precisely the master studies in marine technology which brought her over the Gulf of Finland, from Tallinn University of Technology to Aalto University in Espoo.
Smoothly from academia to industry
"Having specialized in marine technology in Finland, Meyer Turku was the obvious opportunity for me. I was more than happy to move to Turku and join the company's very talented research team", tells Ingrit.
"My working environment has been very positive and research oriented. Actually, many of my colleagues are preparing their PhD thesis as an agreed working arrangement in our team."
The aim of Ingrit's PoDoCo project was to experimentally study the fatigue strength of high strength steel. The experiments covered the variation in the production quality as well as the very high cycle fatigue region. During the grant year 2016, laboratory tests were successfully finalized and the results showed significantly improved fatigue strength of this innovative steel.
"The industry-relevant experiments were carried out in cooperation with Meyer Turku, Hamburg University of Technology and Aalto University. This gave me a valuable experience of coordinating research between multiple partners and surviving in new environment. I also enjoyed working four months in Hamburg during the project."
From grant to job towards big goal
Following the grant period, Ingrit is now employed by Meyer Turku and continues the research work started during PoDoCo project. The next phase is to validate the fatigue strength under realistic loading conditions.
Meyer Turku is targeting to introduce high strength steel in vessel structures. This would remarkably benefit the environment, reduce the fuel consumption and improve the competitiveness of Finnish steel industry and shipbuilding.
For Ingrit PoDoCo grant enabled a smooth transition from academia to industry.
"This was the best option for me since now I am able to utilize my research knowledge and background in vital work of developing the shipbuilding forward towards more sustainable solutions", concludes Ingrit.