Monday 15 April 2019

My travel in during PhD under The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), Horizon 2020

The basic idea behind this Marie Skłodowska-Curie funding for ITN projects is they employ a foreign researcher and have international collaborations within academic and industry; this will bring ideas to host institute as well as visiting institute. This is based on experience of Madam Marie Skłodowska-Curie who was from Poland and conducted a pioneering research in the field of radioactivity. She was the first woman to win Nobel price and first person to win Nobel price twice, so is also the name of funding based on her and based on concept of travel and collaborations internationally.

Following expectations from EU funding, this project demanded a lot of international travel all along three years of PhD, which includes visit to 11 places in seven countries for a total duration of almost more than eight months out of Aalborg University in the span of three years:

1.   Three secondments

a.   EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland (Oct, 2017- Jan, 2018)
b.   BAM, Berlin, Germany (August, 2018- Sept, 2018)
c.   COWI A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark (March, 2019- April, 2019)

2.   Three training weeks (to improve knowledge of ESRs)

a.   BAM, Berlin, Germany (March 2017)
b.   EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland (November 2017)
c.   AAU, Aalborg, Denmark (June 2018)
3.   Three Implementations days (to challenge and align ESRs with industry)

a.   BAST, Bergisch Bladbach, Germany (March 2018)
b.   EFFAGE, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France (October 2018)
c.   COWI A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark (June 2019-Planned)
4.   INFRASTAR training school
a.   IFSTTAR, Nantes, France (April 2019)
5.   Conferences

a.   EAWE, Brussels, Belgium (Sept 2018)
b.   IALCCE, Ghent, Belgium (October 2018)
c.   ICASP, Seoul, South-Korea (May 2019, planned)
d.   WESC, Cork, Ireland (June 2019, planned)

Overall experience was great learning different languages, cuisines, cultures, histories, way of working, way of thinking also ended up with lot of collaborations with outcome of research papers, proving the concept of international collaborations.


What a week in Nantes: First INFRASTAR training school

Generally last year in PhD is bit stressed with running behind publications, writing up thesis, working late hours and then such training school brings a light rain in hot summer and refreshes you to come back to take up more challenges.

It was fantastic to visit to Nantes during this spring for the first INFRASTAR 
Training school. Nantes is a walkable city with beautiful buildings of 19th century along with Castle of the Dukes of Brittany from 15th Century.

one of the main squares of Nantes with beautiful 19th Century buildings

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

Training school was jam packed with lectures covering different aspects:
Monitoring and auscultation, structural model updating, UHPFRC material for new structures, reliability frameworks structures, not only technical but some lectures on legal aspects e.g. patents, women transportation.

Further IFSTTAR arranged a technical visit to their laboratory, which covers different testing facilities available there! Following are few pictures of these unique facilities in IFSTTAR for research in transportation field. 

Centrifuge machine for soil testing creating artificial gravity

Fatigue testing of new pavement for rail transportation in a tunnel

Noise testing facility with semi-acoustic rooms 

There were 16 participant-researchers from outside INFRASTAR participated in the training school who carries same interest as INFRASTAR. All enjoyed the fun packed week with enhancement in technical knowledge and networking.

A big thanks to our INFRASTAR Project manager Hakim FERRIA :) 

Stay tuned with me for future updates.


Monday 24 September 2018

Participation in EAWE 14th PhD Seminar at Brussels

EAWE (European Academy of wind energy) provides a forum to PhD students working in the area of wind-energy to network and exchange ideas. For this year, the networking seminar happened in Vrije University Brussels, Belgium.
This time even few industries working for wind-energy sector participated in this EAWE PhD Seminar to let researchers know about future opportunities and focus areas of these companies.

I got chance to present my work “Fatigue reliability analysis of onshore wind turbine foundations”

In addition, my colleagues from INFRASTAR #ESR7 (Gianluca), #ESR8 (Joey) & #ESR11 (Sima) participated with their presentations.

Social part of the EAWE program was fantastic as it was planned at Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (
This museum has great collection of Vertebrate Fossils (‘Wealden’ dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period, from Belgium), even the large mammals of the Quaternary period, from Belgium (including woolly rhinoceros, mammoths, cave lions and cave bears).

We got chance to dine with dinosaurs :D.

Overall, attending EAWE was fun packed event including, interaction with industry, knowing fellow colleagues working in same area, getting some new ideas, knowing one more country and one more city and local culture in short  ;).

Keep a track on my blog; I will be visiting Belgium again for IALCCE at Ghent to present my conference paper. 

Friday 29 June 2018

The national test center for testing large wind mills: a wonderful visit

I got opportunity to visit Det Nationale Testcenter for store Vindmøller (The national test center for large windmills) as part of INFRASTAR 3# training week held at Aalborg University.

This is a test center in northwest part of Denmark 7 kilometres from North Sea in a  place named Østerild. The location is chosen close to seacoast to simulate the conditions at offshore, however the location should be easily/cheaply accessible for technicians for improving the performance of prototypes. These multi-megawatt turbines, if installed at sea, it would be difficult access and to install them. However, on land they can be installed easily by gigantic land cranes specially designed for this purpose at very cheap cost.

To test large wind turbines there is need to atleast 8m/s (~30kmph) wind speed at 100 m height above sea level. Which is available here owing to the flat topography of the area.

This is the only place in the world big enough to test next generation wind turbines. This place can be visited by tourists, school going children. At office of the test center they have very nice prototypes of wind turbines, a lot of videos showing how a wind turbine is installed answering all queries.

Also they placed a small wind testing tunnel for a layman to understand how models of wind turbine are tested in laboratory.

This specific wind turbine in test center is equipped with direct drive technology where gear box is not present and main shaft is directly attached to generator saving a lot of maintainance cost where this industry observe a lot of failures in gearboxes.

However, this direct drive technology comes up with heavy weight of Nacelle putting more load on tower structure. Here concrete tower is used to support the wind turbine to save cost as steel tower would be a costly affair.

I am very happy that I am working as an ESR for INFRASTAR project where I get opportunity to work in Denmark (world leader for wind turbine technology). Keep following my blog for all recent updates.

Wednesday 13 June 2018

A visit to Aalborg Portland Company

I am working with concrete industry and have interest in concrete structures, does not mean I look like this :D

However, I was willing to visit Aalborg Portland Company since I moved to Aalborg in November 2016. In addition, I am very close neighbour to Aalborg Portland Company. I always used to wonder about the lake near my house, which I cannot really visit, as it has no public access!

This dream came to reality, when the company itself approached Aalborg University. They had plan to meet interested professionals in concrete research industry at company premises with an offer of lunch!
The idea behind this visit was a win-win situation for both company as well as PhD candidate. Company would like to see potential candidates who would be willing to join company and candidates/ PhD fellows have opportunity to talk to all technical experts in the company and to the HR management along with their expectations.
Now something about Visit, and interesting facts of the company!
·         This company was founded in 19th century in 1889!
·         This company one of the largest producer of white cement in the world
·         They need white chock for creating this white cement, which is available here in Aalborg in abundance. The lake we see in above map is a man-made lake which is excavated by a gigantic excavator in last 50 years by taking out the chock. They have sufficient chock for next 50 years.

We have been accompanied by an old employee who served the company for more than 50 years, named Bob! You can see him in below picture talking to me J

We have also been taken to control room of the factory where only few people control all daily operations of the company. See below picture.

The quality control department works in Aalborg controlling quality of all other factories worldwide. 
This is the department where all specialists work controlling quality of produced cement.

 Below figure gives flow diagram for a typical white cement production

I would take an opportunity to thank you for reading my blog, stay tuned to INFRASTAR.

Friday 23 March 2018

Exploring Raw Talent from Rural India

Recently I was in India for my annual vacations and decided to visit some rural schools to explain children about future opportunities as part of study abroad. Staying in rural part they mostly lack exposure and I got chance to explain all students different carrier paths they can take having raw talent inside, setting myself as an example having same background of rural India.

All the time these students have a notion that, if wish to study abroad then you need to have a huge financial back up and need to spend a lot of money from your own pocket. I explained the children about merit scholarships they can have for studying abroad for example, Erasmus Mundus Masters programs and Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD programs, Its hard for all these small kids even teachers of the school that, I am getting paid such a huge stipend just for studying, its beyond their imagination!!

They had some basic questions like:

Why European Union is paying me for studying there?
Even I am not a European citizen, why and how they selected me and pay me?
How much time I spend for my study?
It is only based on merit I could get the scholarship or I have some relatives there who helped me?

It was really fun explaining these small kids about all these so that they can have a vision for shaping their future and let them know that its not money which is required but talent and merit is important to get into such prestigious projects like the one I am now working for INFRASTAR.

This visited school is located in very remote location and we can see hidden beauty of India there, recently I was in Switzerland as part of my project secondment and I can compare this beauty with that of Switzerland only difference I found is snow ;)

I take this opportunity to ask you to visit all my other blogs and stay tuned with INFRASTAR or

Stay tuned:

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Visit to Chillon Viaduct …………. First time inside the deck of a bridge
Chillon castle is well known monument with history dating 11th century as it’s situated in a strategic location connecting the way between south and north.

Besides Chillon castle there is one more monument in Swiss mountains which is Chillon Viaduct, beautifully designed civil engineering concrete box Girder Bridge built in 1969.

As part of INFRASTAR project I got opportunity to work on Chillon viaduct where EPFL MCS department is performing long term monitoring of strains inside box girder to know more about the structure and its performance in fatigue.

Picture below shows monitoring set up inside the box girder of Chillon Viaduct.

Monitoring set up covered with wooden box

Total monitoring set up consisted of electrical strain gauges which measures strains in reinforcement (transverse and longitudinal) at a frequency of ~ 100 Hz. Temperature gauges are installed on all four sides of box girder to measure variation of temperature in structure. Accelerometers are also installed to know dynamic behaviour of the bridge. This long term monitoring will be used to know the fatigue behaviour of the bridge for real time traffic.

My travel in during PhD under The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), Horizon 2020

The basic idea behind this Marie Skłodowska-Curie funding for ITN projects is they employ a foreign researcher and have international co...