The following is an excerpt.
On top of a hill in Verdal lies a farmhouse with the most spectacular view of the valley below. It is the home of Odd-Geir Lademo, head of CASA’s Methods and Tools Programme.
“I hate living in cities,” he says. His main workplace is in Trondheim, a 90-minute drive to the south. Still he prefers to return to the farmhouse every night. Luckily, he can work from home part of the time.
Lademo grew up in similar surroundings not far away. His present dwelling comes from his wife’s family: she took over the farm according to Norwegian law, where the oldest child inherits. Today, wife and husband have separate responsibilities: she milks the cows; he does the harvesting.
Close to practicalities
Ignoring the practical aspects of life is impossible on a farm. Animals need care, seeds must be sown; something always needs mending or improving. Odd-Geir Lademo is all the happier. The swap from basic research to the challenges of putting knowledge to use suits him just fine.
In his own words:
“Our mission in SFI CASA is to make methods and tools that are useful for industry, starting out from hands-on experimental procedures to test materials thoroughly. We also make tools to organize the experimental results and process the data. These data are used to develop accurate material models and numerical simulation tools that industry can use to innovate.”
Many shapes and forms
The Methods and Tools Programme comes in many shapes and forms. One is taking thousands of images of all kinds of deformations and strains from different angles in a digital image correlation system. The pictures are processed numerically and the results translated. This provides new fundamental insight into how materials deform and fail, as well as verifying the data tools used by industry.
The research covers research on many material classes and variants: aluminium alloys, steel, polymers, glass, foams, and possibly a touch of concrete. Each material class or material variant demands separate attention in terms of test procedures, model features and test results.
Modern, advanced characterization techniques also open the path for a deep dive into the materials. Separate tools will be developed to provide information in scale models that industry can exploit for applications such as crash analyses.
Tools to store, process and visualize the experimental data are obviously important, and are well planned.
Everything is gathered in the SIMLab Tool Box with direct access for all the partners. From there on, the innovation process at each partner takes over.
Mind the gap
Odd-Geir Lademo is just as much affected by CASA’s challenges as the rest of the team. When the Scientific Advisory Board says “Mind the Gap”, he takes their point.
“The distance between metres and nanometres is enormous. We can observe the alloy elements in aluminium at nanoscale, but we do not know the implications with respect to models,” he confesses.
All CASA work starts with models formulated at a higher level. However, it is not self-evident that the researchers actually manage reduce the scale and increase it again in a reasonable manner.
The Scientific Advisory Board pinpointed this issue in their report from last October:
“We are concerned that atomistic understanding does not correlate with partner needs.”
This is a challenge, but fortunately it is one that CASA has every intention to face.
As it is, Odd-Geir Lademo loves challenges.
“I am also an incurable optimist. Some say too much so.”
“Most of us have a positive quality that is also our weakest point. What is yours?”
“I say yes too often. In addition to heading the Methods and Tools Programme in CASA and holding a position as Adjunct Professor at NTNU, I am a research manager at SINTEF Materials and Chemistry. I also head of the Parents’ Council Working Committee at my children’s school. I don’t always have a good conscience leaving the bulk of the obligations at the farm to my wife. Luckily, SINTEF allows me to prioritize the farm in the most critical periods of the spring and harvesting. Even though the farming is hard work, I like to think of it as mental relaxation and a good alternative to a mountain cabin.”
An angler and a carpenter
Our man is closest to paradise when he can bring a tent and a fishing rod and spend several days fishing in mountain lakes.
He also financed much of his studies fishing. From when the ice broke up until it covered the Leksdalsvatnet lake again in the autumn he would get up early with his father and see to the nets. The record catch was 309 trout in one night. Shops in the neighbouring villages were good customers.
At high school, he first aimed at becoming a carpenter. Through this practical experience and education, he gradually became more interested in school work and theory. He completed his master’s degree in Structural Engineering in 1992, having Professor Magnus Langseth as his supervisor for his diploma on blast loading. Next came what lead him to enter a research career.
“I completed my MSC before I served the compulsory military service. After seven weeks at a military camp, I was offered a technical duty at the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency, positioned mainly at NTH (now NTNU), working on impact and blast loading. Through this year I really got the appetite for systematic research and the challenging interplay between transient loads, materials and structural behaviour. I desired to stay put and was later offered a PhD scholarship,” Lademo adds.
He completed his PhD on materials modelling of aluminium alloys in 1999, having Odd Sture Hopperstad and Magnus Langseth as a strong supervisory duo. He then started working in SINTEF, still nurturing the strong link to NTNU, and the subject area of his PhD.
He is still there, but not all of him. Rather, he feels privileged to have two sets of tools: one at CASA and one on the farm.