Meeting with Chavie NKOUA, doctoral student working on the MICOATEC project.
1/ Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
Hello, I am Chavie NKOUA, I am 26 years old and I am from Congo Brazzaville. I arrived in Toulouse for my university studies. Last year I graduated with a Masters in Materials Science and Engineering. During this year of Master, I did an internship at MECAPROTEC, also a partner of the MICOATEC project. Since obtaining my Masters, I have been doing my thesis at ENSIACET. I am currently working in collaboration with Christine BLANC from CIRIMAT and Régine Basséguy from LGC on my Thesis project.
2/ How would you describe the Micoatec project?
For me, the MICOATEC project is a project that was developed with several partners with the aim of developing a protective layer against corrosion on the aluminium alloy using a biomimetic strategy. We will use microorganisms to help create this layer. Then we will try to reproduce the formation of this layer without the use of the microorganisms.
My mission is to understand the interactions that exist between microorganisms and the surface of the material.
3/ What is your mission within the MICOATEC project?
My mission is to understand the interactions that exist between microorganisms and the surface of the material. It boils down to understanding the process of creating the protective layer, studying the influence of microorganisms on the pH or any other parameter that leads to the formation of this layer and determining the key parameters of the process so that we can one day reproduce this layer without the use of microorganisms.
4/ Can you tell us about the methods and technics you use?
I mainly use light microscopy to study the microstructure of my material. I also use the SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) to determine the nature of the different phases carried out in my material and the TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy) to study fine particles. Currently, I perform polarization curve measurements in order to study the influence of the surface finish with different polishing « grains » ranging from 3 to 1000 microns. This experiment will be repeated on a “coated” material. At the same time, I have just started to perform corrosion calculations as well as OCP (Open Circuit Potential) measurements. Then I would work on measurements of impedance, tensile and fatigue.
5/ Why did you want to take part in this project?
I have always been passionate about biology, although my course has always been materials oriented. Bringing together biology and materials is a real plus for me. Finally, my professional plan is to one day work in surface treatment so I tried my luck!
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