Linking people

The CILAMCE (Ibero-Latin Amer­i­can Con­gress on Com­pu­ta­tion­al Meth­ods in Engi­neer­ing) launched in 1977, was con­vened in Com­pieg­ne and Paris, Nov. 12–14, 2018 for the first time in France. The ‘Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies’ was Pro­fes­sor Adnan Ibrahim­be­gov­ic, tenured hold­er of the Chair of Dig­i­tal Com­pu­ta­tion at UTC and a Senior Fel­low of the famous Insti­tut Uni­ver­si­taire de France (IUF) since 2015. 

Is it because of his Bosn­ian ori­gins – he hails from ex-Yugoslavia – that he per­ceives the dan­gers of iso­la­tion? What­ev­er the rea­son, Adnan Ibrahimbegovic’s con­stant leit­mo­tiv is the objec­tive of “open­ing up sci­ence”. Here is a man link­ing peo­ple: links between spe­cial­ties, links between lab­o­ra­to­ries, links estab­lished and nour­ished with sci­en­tists all round the world… 

The links between var­i­ous spe­cial­ties? Adnan Ibrahim­be­gov­ic was recruit­ed by UTC to occu­py the Chair of Com­pu­ta­tion­al Mechan­ics and, very ear­ly on in this post, he rapid­ly focused on the ques­tions occur­ring at the inter­faces between clas­sic spe­cial­ty fields. “And, no soon­er you pro­nounce the word ‘inter­face’ than there aris­es a need to see dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ties dia­logue togeth­er. In short, you need to instil and bol­ster inter­dis­ci­pli­nar­i­ty, which it turns out is the only way to make progress in address­ing and solv­ing com­plex prob­lems”, he stresses. 

The need for inter­dis­ci­pli­nar­i­ty is self-evi­dent for an ongo­ing research project at the UTC Rober­val Lab: to dis­cov­er if a CFRP (Car­bon Fibre Rein­forced Poly­mer) megas­truc­ture can resist oper­a­tional con­di­tions of extreme strain. “We have two long-term indus­tri­al appli­ca­tions to hand: one lies in design­ing giant, flex­i­ble 100 m blade wind gen­er­a­tors, each pro­duc­ing 10 MW, i.e., the dou­ble of what already exists in Europe; the oth­er lies in future wide-body high capac­i­ty air­craft”, details Adnan Ibrahim­be­gov­ic. Notwith­stand­ing, there are some sig­nif­i­cant con­straints and pos­si­ble draw­backs to our projects. “Assem­bling a wind gen­er­a­tor using a low den­si­ty mate­r­i­al; increas­ing the pow­er out­put must also see com­pli­ance with struc­tur­al resis­tance when faced with extreme storm (hur­ri­cane) con­di­tions. Like­wise, the wings of future wide-body air­craft will have to be able to with­stand vio­lent aero­dy­nam­ic forces”, he adds. 

The ques­tion remains – how can we under­stand and solve prob­lems when no test-rigs in the world enable you to repro­duce extreme strains on struc­ture this big? Here again there are forms of sci­en­tif­ic col­lab­o­ra­tion, between the var­i­ous spe­cial­ties involved. At UTC, in the frame­work of the Labex MS2T, in rel­e­vant inter­na­tion­al cir­cles and with the lab­o­ra­to­ry for advanced com­pu­ta­tion head­ed by Prof. Math­ies Her­mann, Uni­ver­si­ty of Braun­schweig – Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Germany. 

“Our mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing, acoustics and mate­ri­als lab (UTC –Rober­val) is equipped to pro­duce and assess CFRP test sam­ples (each sev­er­al cen­time­tres long). Our research team first mea­sures the resis­tance of these scaled down sam­ples, tak­ing spe­cial note of the vari­abil­i­ty of the mea­sure­ments. The results we obtain are then analysed at the UTC applied maths lab (UTC-LMAC) and trans­posed to XXL struc­tures”, details Adnan Ibrahim­be­gov­ic. The pre­cise way in which two parts made from the same mate­r­i­al crack or break dif­fers as a func­tion of their size. In order to quan­ti­fy the scale effect here, we apply new prob­a­bilis­tic meth­ods and that allow us to demon­strate the risk of cat­a­stroph­ic fail­ure ampli­fi­ca­tion process­es on a 100m long item (each wind gen­er­a­tor blade). 

If you want to engage in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach­es, you nec­es­sar­i­ly need to ‘deci­pher’ the codes spe­cif­ic to each research field, in order to explore new fields at the “fringe of basic research and applied research for appli­ca­tions. This calls for qual­i­fied engi­neers but also some PhDs. And the judge­ment I make is that we do not train enough of them. The answer, as I see it, will lie in recruit­ing more stu­dents, espe­cial­ly those with inter­na­tion­al out­reach“, deems Pro­fes­sor Ibrahimbegovic. 

Le magazine

Novembre 2023 - N°61

Activité physique, nutrition & santé

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