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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 17 September 2009
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In this video, Stella Rayanova, a research assistant based in the Department of Engineering at the University of Waikato, describes how she entered the field of powder metallurgy and what it is that fascinates her about her job.

To Stella, metals are ‘alive’, with an amazing microstructure of their own. Stella enjoys the work she does as it involves designing, setting up and running experiments.

Point of interest
Often when we take the time to carefully look at the world around us, we see things with ‘new eyes’. Stella’s comment about metals being ‘alive’ is a classic case of this.

Transcript

STELLA RAYNOVA
Well, I never in my life thought that I would be a materials scientist. I enrolled in bachelor study because I wanted to be a machine designer. But in the second year, we had a paper which was called physical metallography, and we started studying about microfracture analysis, and I just was amazed at how metals are alive. Because when you see a piece of metal, it’s just a shiny bit, but if you cut a piece of this metal and look at it closely, you can see amazing microstructures.

Anyway, coming to New Zealand, it actually gave me the opportunity to be a materials scientist. And then I met Deliang, Deliang’s metallic group, and after I finished my master’s degree, I was offered a job as research assistant, and that is when actually titanium research was started, 8 or 9 years ago. And it was great working with all these people in this new field.

Well, I almost enjoy everything I do. I enjoy the fact that I need to set up all this equipment and have to attempt to make a design of new equipment. It’s a really creative job. I enjoy performing the experiments because each experiment is different from another. We use different conditions to make the same experiment just to see how these conditions will affect the properties of the materials we develop. And after that, it’s amazing to see how in different conditions they can develop different microstructures and different properties of the material. And it’s so amazing because it’s all connected and we are doing it all by ourselves.