Guest Researcher Şükran Katmer visits the IKV

  Şükran Katmer talking to a colleague Copyright: © CIKV/Fröls Şükran Katmer at the International Injection Moulding Conference 2014

Şükran Katmer (31) works as guest researcher at the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen. She is from Turkey, grew up in Rize and studied Mechanical Education at Gazi University in Ankara, where she finished her master’s degree in 2010. The PhD student moved to Aachen in July 2015. Since then she has been working on the Cluster of Excellence project on In-Mold-Metal-Spraying (IMMS). Before Şükran Katmer will return to Turkey in a few weeks, she told us about her time in Aachen and the experiences she made.

Why have you chosen Aachen as host university?
SK: In 2014, which was the German-Turkish Year of Research, I participated in a workshop in Bursa (Turkey). There I met an employee of the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) who gave me advice about research opportunities at RWTH Aachen University. I was really interested in it because Professor Mahmut Izciler of the Gazi University already told me during my studies that the RWTH Aachen has an outstanding reputation in engineering. Then, I contacted the chief engineer of the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) and we discussed possible projects I might work on. After deciding on my project, I discussed all the details with the head of the Injection Moulding Department. Finally, I applied for a scholarship at TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). The confirmation of the scholarship made my stay abroad possible.

Which research project in Aachen are you involved in?
SK: I work on the Cluster of Excellence project “In-Mold-Metal-Spraying”, in short IMMS. In this project my colleagues and I research together on a new approach for producing plastic parts with a metal surface. The aim of the project is to combine prior technologies with new methods to achieve a high bonding strength of the coating. The goal is to guarantee a hundred percent transfer of the metal coating onto plastic part surfaces during moulding.

What do you find most fascinating about this project?
SK: I chose this project right away because I wanted to work on a new, innovative method. Working on something that goes beyond familiar technologies is really fascinating. Research means the world to me because it makes me feel completely free. After finishing my master’s degree, I had a full time job as a mechanical parts designer at the company Arçelik A.Ş. in Turkey, then I have been a lecturer at the University of Yalova for three years. I like teaching, but being able to work on some problems in the lab and also to apply the results is what interests me most. That’s why I’ll always choose research, if I can.

  Şükran Katmer during her free time Copyright: © Şükran Katmer

What do you like most about Germany or Aachen in particular?
SK: I really like the Old Town, which already impressed me when I came to Aachen for the “International Injection Moulding Conference” in 2014. Also, and this might seem funny, but I actually love the weather in Aachen since it reminds me of Rize, where I was born. Rize is the rainiest place in Turkey and there are only two months of sunny days there. The rainy weather in Aachen makes me feel at home. Last, but not least, I’ll definitely miss ‘Käsekuchen mit Kirschen’ (cheesecake with cherries) in Turkey.

Do you remember a special or happy moment during your time in Aachen?
SK: I do and it is linked to Aachen, but it actually happened a month before my arrival in Aachen. Last year in June, I went to a conference in South Korea and took the plane from Istanbul. When I landed in South Korea at the international airport, I waited for the train to the main station. At this huge airport with many people passing by, I bumped into the head of the IKV, Professor Christian Hopmann. He was on his way to the same conference. During the journey to the conference, we were able to talk about Aachen and my upcoming time at the IKV. At the conference, I already felt as a member of the IKV although I haven’t even started yet. After this funny coincidence, I was sure that my time in Aachen would be great.

What are your plans for the future?
SK: First of all, I’ll go back to Turkey soon and then I want to finish my PhD thesis on injection moulding of shape memory polymers until the end of the year. I really liked working on the Cluster of Excellence project at the IKV and I hope I’ll have the chance to come back to Aachen someday – for a conference or a job opportunity, who knows.

Thank you for this interview, Şükran Katmer, and all the best wishes for your future!