Professors Knut Marthinsen and Randi Holmestad in the lower scale programme of CASA, strengthen the NTNU-Japan connection. This bonding might also lead to more attention on zippers.
Closer connection with Japan. Recently the two professors got funding for a 3 years continuation of the Norwegian-Japanese Aluminium alloy Research and Education Collaboration (NJALC). The money comes from INTPART, a prestigious funding scheme for promoting outstanding education and research.
Connecting education and research with business
The funder is The Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education. The project focuses mainly on connecting education and research with business.
Project leader professor Randi Holmestad says that their collaboration with industry is crucial and she thinks this is the reason why their project was prolonged.
«There were many applicants. We were very proud when we got the message that we have funding for another 3 years», she says.
Kyushu University new partner
The collaboration includes research, student exchange and education. Joint supervision of MSc and PhD candidates and joint courses is another part, as well as internships in industry connecting education, research and innovation.
According to Holmestad, they built a robust network within the aluminium industry and academia in Norway and Japan during the first project. Further, they obtained international recognition through three joint workshops, one summer school, and ten student exchange and industry internships. Industry internships have been at Hydro Aluminium in Norway and four Japanese aluminium companies; YKK, Kobelco, UACJ and Nippon light metal.
The use of advanced transmission electron microscopes (TEM) for the development of aluminium alloys is the core of the collaboration. This is Holmestad´s field of expertise. In October, one of her PhD candidates at SIMLab, Emil Christiansen plans to go to Kyushu University to study in situ deformations of aluminium inside the TEM.
«This equipment we do not have in Norway», Holmestad says.
World´s largest producer of zippers
So, what has all this to do with zippers? Many of us have a very close connection to YKK – it´s just that we are not aware of it. Just take a look at the zipper of your pants. The chance of those three letters are embossed in is pretty high. The acronym stands for Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushiki-Gaisha. The Japanese group is the world’s largest zipper manufacturer. They also make other fastening products, architectural products, plastic hardware and industrial machinery.
This spring two researchers from YKK paid a visit to NTNU as a part of the NIALC project.
Dr Kazuhiko Kita and Mr Tetsuya Katsumi visited together with Professor Kenji Matsuda, University of Toyama. They gave presentations for Physics and Materials Science students at NTNU to recruit for internship and MSc studies to study new aluminium alloys for use in zippers.
Consolidate and develop relations further
During their stay, NTNU and the University of Toyama signed an MOU agreement.
The Japanese visitors also visited the Hydro plant at Sunndalsøra. A guided tour of the infrastructure connected to CASA was also on their programme, including the kicking machine and the transmission electron microscopes.
«Now, the objective of the phase II project is to consolidate and further develop relations and collaborative activities. Both with academia and industry in Japan, as a basis for stronger and more formalised bonds», says professor Randi Holmestad.