In our PhD Profiles series, we speak to PhD student Theo Langlois – a cotutelle student who is passionate about the role metals can play in the transition towards a greener future.
Area of research: Materials science – metallurgy
Joined IFM: 2022
Career Highlights: An international career. Research in France, Australia and Germany among others.
Why did you decide to join IFM?
I am completing my PhD as part of a cotutelle program between IFM and INSA Lyon in France. Due to the sustainable nature of my project, it made sense to come to IFM in Australia because of the availability of raw materials, facilities and equipment.
What is the topic of your research project?
This project is about enhanced sustainability for the use of high entropy alloys. High entropy alloys are made up of five or more elements, unlike traditional alloys that are made of one or two dominant metals. High entropy alloys have outstanding mechanical properties and compositional flexibility and because they are relatively new alloys there is still research to be done on the mechanical-sustainable trade-offs. The idea is to scan unknown compositions to predict some mechanical features with the help of thermodynamics and machine learning. We also want to give the alloy a sustainable performance score, considering economic, environmental and ethical implications.
What motivates you in your research?
I want to research and uncover new results that could have a positive impact for a greener future. I am passionate about the key role of metals and alloys for the energy transition towards a greener future.
Why is your research important?
Among many materials, metals are at the cornerstone of energy transition to face climate change. To reduce carbon emissions, the use of metal in greener sources of energy – hydrogen storage, batteries, solar panels – is seen to become critical. Thus, sustainability and resource management are a priority for material design: What is the price of a material? Is this material abundant on earth? Is it produced in a country with good or bad ethics regarding human well-being?
What is your technical goal in the next 12 months?
I want to produce, characterise, and test many samples with two goals:
- to validate an experimental routine for High throughput of High Entropy alloys
- to obtain prediction for the mechanical performance of my alloys.
What inspired you to start a career in your field?
My father was an engineer in electrical fields. I wanted to become an engineer too and I wanted to get a role associated with energy and the fight against climate change.
What techniques and parts of your research do you have fun with?
The high throughput of high entropy alloys is the most fun part of this work because you are expected to explore large regions with unknown properties.
If you weren’t in research – is there another occupation you could see yourself in?
Running, trail running or music
Describe your ultimate holiday – what would you do and where would you go?
For winter holidays, I would go to skying (alpine and cross-country style) because I am French. For summer break, I would go hiking and trail running in the mountains too.
When you are not at work, what are you doing?
Running and having fun with my friends (in that order).
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take it easier when you are young, studies really start when you are around 11-12 years old.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully graduated and with a position in research (post-doc, research fellow) or in the industry (related to energy, automotive or sport-equipment).
Learn more about how you can reimagine your career with a PhD at IFM, click here.