Guest Researcher Aleksandr Maslennikov at ISF

  Maslennikov standing in front of a machine Copyright: © Aleksandr Maslennikov

Aleksandr Maslennikov (35) was born in the city of Tula in Russia, which is located 180km south of Moscow. He spent all of his childhood in Tula and started to study at Tula State University. Since May 2016, he is working as a guest researcher at the Welding and Joining Institute (ISF) at RWTH Aachen University on a Cluster of Excellence (CoE) research project.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your career path?
After my four-year bachelor program at the Welding department of the Technological Faculty of Tula State University, I continued studying engineering subjects with a specialization in welding science and materials and the numerical modeling of weld phenomena. In 2008, I defended my PhD dissertation on the subject “Development of the technological process of orbital welding on the basis of the optimization of welding parameters“ at Moscow Technological University (now Moscow Aviation Institute).

What is your current occupation in Tula?
I am still working at Tula State University as an associate professor, teaching mechanical engineering in relation to welding processes, including computer analysis and modeling to students.

Why have you chosen Aachen for your stay abroad?
Actually, I have been to Aachen before due to an earlier research stay. The first relations with RWTH Aachen University (and the ISF Institute) were founded by Professor Wladislav Sudnik of Tula University in the 1990s, who together with Professor Ulrich Dilthey (former director of ISF Institute) set up the first joint project on computer analysis of MAG-welding. My first personal visit to ISF took place in 2012 in the context of a six-month research stay for my PhD made possible by the DAAD program “Michail Lomonosov“. During conversations with colleagues, I got to know about a new and advanced, solid-state joining technology, namely, friction stir welding. I was really fascinated with the possibilities of this technology and until now I still conduct research in this field.

Which research project in Aachen are you involved in and what are your principal tasks?
My project is running within the framework of the CoE-subarea “Multi-Technology Production Systems“. My research issue is set in the field of friction stir welding, more precisely I am working on the development and improvement of a self-consistent thermo-mechanical model of the process, electrically assisted with Joule heating. For the subsequent verification and calibration of the model, I need a wide range of corresponding experimental data. Therefore during my research stay in Aachen, I am working together with my colleagues at ISF on conducting full scale experiments on friction stir welding in a welding laboratory.

  Maslennikov in front of a machine Copyright: © Aleksandr Maslennikov

What excites you about this project?
Some physical phenomena involved in friction stir welding are really magnificent and breathtaking. For example, the picture of flow velocities of viscous metal in the plastic zone of a friction stir welded joint reminds me of water flows caused by butterfly swimming. These analogies strike my imagination, proving again and again that in our life and nature everything is alike. Sometimes in order to find a solution to a seemingly unsolvable challenge, it is enough to have a look at swimming fish in an aquarium or a flying bird on a sunny morning. This helps me a lot while constructing the new simulation model and adjusting it to the real process environment.

What is the biggest difference between your home university and RWTH Aachen University?
The biggest difference I’d say, is in the availability of cutting-edge welding and computational equipment and corresponding materials. Here at RWTH Aachen and the ISF, one can freely plan scientific activities and thus relatively quickly realize them without losing plenty of time for searching needed means, tools and supporting materials.

What do you like most about Germany or Aachen in particular?
In terms of work, I would firstly point out that people are highly motivated for teamwork in order to reach ambitious outcomes. The more complicated the goal is, the stronger this ability manifests itself. With regard to leisure time, Aachen itself presents a paradise for personal ways of self-development. There are plenty of different sport societies, gyms, swimming pools and sport areas where one can go all out.

Do you remember a special moment of happiness during your time in Aachen?
Well, after four years of learning German by studying on my own, I have begun to understand people and people understand me - to me, this is real happiness. Of course, sometimes it still turns out funny when I switch to English during speaking German because I can’t remember a word.

Any last words?
I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely express many thanks to the management of the CoE at RWTH Aachen University as well as the director of ISF, Professor Uwe Reisgen, Chief Engineer Alexander Schiebahn and Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Naumov for the provided occasion to work within the CoE-project “Multi-Technology Production Systems“.

Thank you very much, Aleksandr Maslennikov, for your time. We wish you all the best for your future!