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"An experience that stays with me for the rest of my life”

Kenyan Master student visits Chemnitz for successful scientific exchange - research results presented in conference paper

From the beginning of February until the end of April 2014, Mechatronic MSc student James Wamai, who is also working as a teaching assistant at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi, Kenya, visited Technische Universität Chemnitz to conduct experiments and research at the professorship Micromanufacturing Technology.

As an outstanding student he was awarded a DAAD scholarship grant, which gave him a chance to come to Germany in order to further his thesis. "I immediately set out looking for a university where I could engage in my area of research. It was easy for me to choose Technische Universität Chemnitz owing to their nice reputation as a university of proven excellence in Engineering studies and research,” Wamai states. "I contacted Dr. Henning Zeidler, chief research engineer in the professorship Micromanufacturing Technology and together with Professor Andreas Schubert, who is the head of the professorship, we agreed on a topic based on my thesis, `Optimisation of performance parameters in Electrical Discharge Machining of Metal Matrix Composites´.”

After settling the formalities, James Wamai arrived in Chemnitz on February 3rd, 2014. Despite of the cold weather, the colleagues from the professorship arranged for a warm welcome and made settling in easy: "I arrived in Chemnitz and was impressed by the beautiful city, the welcoming and disciplined culture of the people and the wide variety of German foods I could buy at the Mensa,” says Wamai.

On the first days the workplan for the next three months was set up, starting with preliminary tests on Aluminum Silicon Carbide (AlSiC) Metal Matrix Composite material machining to investigate the effects of various parameters. The following step of process optimisation involved rotation of the electrode, vibration assistance and appropriate choice of parameter settings to yield good quality surfaces, increase material removal rate and reduce tool wear rate.

The excellent results of the study lead to a publication "Effect of Dielectric Fluid and Low Frequency Vibration in Electrical Discharge Machining of AlSiC Metal Matrix Composites" and a presentation at the Sustainable Research and Innovation (SRI) conference in JKUAT on 7-10 May 2014.

"Away from my research, I was able to learn a little German, see a bit of the country and make amazing friends,” Wamai says. "I am thankful to Dr. Henning Zeidler for an amazing chance to learn from him, TU Chemnitz for opening their doors to me and all my colleagues for their kindness and assistance. Needless to say, this is an experience that stays with me for the rest of my life.”

Contact: Professorship Micromanufacturing Technology:

(Author: Dr. Henning Zeidler)

Katharina Thehos

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