Friday, March 8, 2013

5 Minutes With...Juliane Benedet, MechEng PhD Student, Imperial College London

5 Minutes with… 
Juliane, STLE Annual Meeting 2010, Las Vegas
Juliane Benedet, PhD student, Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London

What got you interested in tribology, and where has that interest led you? To support myself through my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering I worked for the National Service for Industrial Training in Brazil, which is a network of nonprofit professional schools and technology centres that have been established and maintained by the Brazilian Confederation of Industry. These institutions provide formal training for specialized workers in the areas of chemistry, mechanics, construction, etc. Having always been interested in research, I found myself surrounded by like minded people who had a strong academic background. They encouraged me to specialise and pursue postgraduate qualifications.

Upon moving to the UK in 2006, I had the opportunity to work on the research and development of additives for both fuels and lubricants and when the opportunity to do a PhD in Tribology presented itself in the end of 2007, I did not think twice. When I first started I was looking forward to learning more about lubrication and lubricants, but given the multidisciplinary nature of this amazing science I have learnt so much more. It has been a great privilege to work alongside chemists, physicists, material scientists, chemical engineers and mechanical engineers in the Tribology group at Imperial College London, which has an outstanding reputation for experimental tribological research.

Can you give us some detail on your current research? Because energy demands are expected to double by 2050, lubricants are required to reduce friction and thus energy consumption, while maintaining reliability; throughout my PhD I have investigated the film-forming, friction and wear-reducing properties of a very wide range of potential, low and zero sulphated ash, phosphorus and sulphur (SAPS) antiwear additives of different chemical types to replace ZDDP in engine oils and mitigate its deleterious effects, i.e. (i) degradation of exhaust aftertreatment systems, (ii) increase in engine friction, which compromise fuel economy and (iii) corrosive-abrasive wear with soot in diesel engines.

I employed a multi-technique approach, i.e. MTM-SLIM, MTM-Reciprocating, AFM, FIB-SIMS, FIB-TEM, ToF-SIMS and XANES, in order to determine which classes of lubricant additive types are able to form protective boundary films that reduce wear and friction in rubbing contacts. This study benefits designers of the next generation of engine lubricants and also helps us understand at a more fundamental level the various ways that lubricants can control wear in boundary lubrication conditions.

What recommendations would you give to other students and researchers in the field? Although very rewarding, research can also be quite lonesome sometimes, so try to have perseverance, keep a close eye on the details and ask for help or a second opinion.

Tribologists and tribologists-to-be: don’t mind if most people have no idea what Tribology is. There are endless examples of “tribology-at-work” from cars and machines to joint replacements, food and hair products. No matter how much you try to explain, some people will still look puzzled and either say you are brainy or make a few lubrication-related jokes, don’t worry you can always count on your fellow tribologists.

What are some of your favorites?
Tribology/Mechanical Engineering book: Engineering Tribology by Gwidon Stachowiak and Andrew Batchelor
Professor: Professor Hugh Spikes, for his invaluable support, insights and encouragement throughout my PhD.
Website: Tribology ABC
Interests: Because I am of Italian-Brazilian descent I have inherited a passion for food and cooking so I spend my free time trying new recipes and entertaining my good friends and family.

Juliane has received her Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering in 2005, from the University of Southern Santa Catarina in Brazil, where she worked for the National Service for Industrial Training (SENAI, 1998-2005) in the investigation, optimization and knowledge transfer of rheological aspects of ceramic suspensions.

She began working in the R&D of additives in 2006 at Infineum UK, where she investigated lubricity and detergency improvers for diesel fuels, afterwards joining Castrol Ltd in 2007 to investigate the thermal stability of lubricating oils. She briefly re-joined Infineum in 2011 as a Power Transmission Fluid Technologist, responsible for proposing technical solutions to fluid related hardware issues.

Currently, she is a PhD student in the Tribology Group of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Imperial College London, where she has investigated the film-forming, friction and wear-reducing properties of a very wide range of alternative low and zero sulphated ash, phosphorus and sulphur (SAPS) antiwear additives of different chemical types to improve the next generation of engine oils and extend the life of vehicle exhaust aftertreatment systems.

1 comment:

  1. I wish Juliane a very good luck with all success.