Research Mobility at Riga Technical University
ICONDE project involves PhD students from all partner institutes and their cooperation is encouraged by exchange training and research mobilities.
Ashfaque Ahmed Jhatial, PhD student from The Arctic University of Norway, used his opportunity to experience different research place and went to Riga Technical University for two collaboration visits (from 11 September to 22 September, and from 24 October to 28 October). He is involved in WP4, where one of the tasks deals with a detailed analysis of the Interfacial Transition Zone (ITZ) between paste and fibres.
In conventional concrete, the ITZ is between the cement matrix and aggregates, but in the case of concrete with dispersed fibres, the area of ITZ is enlarged by ITZ between fibre and paste. ITZ is considered the weakest link, as the strength of concrete is affected by its properties. Under loading, ITZ is generally failed first, which is why it is crucial. Microstructural analysis using methods like SEM can provide much information regarding ITZ status and its effect on the strength and durability of concrete. In ICONDE project, a paste is composed of cement and oil shale ash, provided by our Estonian partners, which divers it from standard cement paste and requires detailed investigation.
Ashfaque describes his mobility as follows: "After my arrival at Riga Technical university, I went for a laboratory tour of different laboratories, where I later conducted my experimental work by preparing different concrete mixes incorporating oil shale ash and composite basalt fibres. The mechanical strength testing and microstructural analysis were conducted during my second visit, as the concrete samples had to cure for 28 days. During my study, I got the opportunity to prepare concrete samples, collect and process data with Karunamoorthy Rengasamy Kannathasanand, a PhD researcher at Riga Technical University. I was also given one-to-one lectures by Prof. Andrejs Krasņikovs on the behaviour of composite fibres and interfacial transition zone in concrete. Mr. Karunamoorthy being a resident in Riga for a few years, and took me to visit the beautiful city of Riga and the famous Riga Central Market."
"To summarize, I can proudly say that I gained not only knowledge and skills regarding fibres and interfacial transition zone but also made personal and academic connections which will bear fruit in the coming times," said Ashfaque.