Students on internships

Internship at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Text by: Thomas Haartsen
When it was time to start thinking about where I wanted to do my internship, I had soon decided that I wanted to go to the US. Luckily, my supervisor had some contacts there and it was quickly arranged that I would go to Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, for four months. I obtained a visa, found a room on craigslist and off I went.

My project was about size-effect in metals. Size-effect is the term used to describe the observed hardening effect when the size of a loaded structure is reduced and large strain gradients occur. I performed nanoindentation experiments to try to see what influence the grain boundary has on the size-effect. Although there was a nanoindenter present at the university, the main challenge was to obtain samples that were suitable for the experiment. Since there was not much knowledge present about preparing these samples, I devoted much of my time to understanding how it should be done properly.

Obviously, you don’t go all the way to the US to just sit in a lab.  You go there for the full US experience. When I was there, spring 2012, the republican primaries were in full swing. Being in the south, a predominantly republican voting area, this gave me a very interesting insight in the American mentality. Moreover, in my spare time I made some trips. I went to Houston with my American roommate, went to the famous Bourbon street in New Orleans and made a little roadtrip in Georgia to Savannah (where Forrest Gump sat on his bench) with a friend from Eindhoven who was doing an internship at the same time. All in all I had a great time, scored some EC and saw something of the world.

Internship at Airbus, Hamburg

Text by: Uriel Hoeberichts
Halfway your Master, time is running out and you have to look for an internship. This is surely one of the exciting moments of your education. A lot of options are available, usually an internship is chosen outside Europe. Studying for several months at another university and enjoying the new experiences / environments. However, I opted for a completely different approach: I really wanted an internship at a large international company to be my first real practice experience. After long negotiations (read: mail for almost half a year), I finally got permission to start an internship at Airbus Operations GmbH in Hamburg, Germany. At this plant of Airbus about 15,000 people work.

Airbus and nearest competitor Boeing are the most prominent aircraft manufactures in the world. Immediately raises the question: what does a mechanical engineer do at an aeronautics company. For the master track Mechanics of Materials, this is not such a strange combination, because Airbus has a very large materials department called ESA (Engineering Stress Airframe). Different materials / techniques / combinations are under investigation, theory is applied in practice. Lately mainly composite materials are being studied (CFRP and FML). The A380 (largely FML) and A350 (largely CFRP) are examples of this. My assignment was to benchmark a commercial code with an in-house code in XFEM with the parent thought to eventually apply it to a model in which inter-and intra-ply failure in composites is simulated.

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and has a lot to offer in many areas. For the youth, the Reeperbahn nightlife area on weekends (and weekdays), is the place to be. After a good night clubbing, breakfast can be bought at the Fischmarkt, which opens on sunday at 6 am. Furthermore, housing in Hamburg is pretty hard to find and quite pricey, this is because it is a very attractive city, which has a lot to offer. The city and the people in Hamburg make it all worth it to spend a lovely time here.