The beginning...

Hi everyone,

My name is Nilo Ruiz and I started a PhD as Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow at the University of Nottingham approximately 8 months ago . The idea of this blog is to share my progress and some new professional experiences related to the PhD and the SMARTI ETN project. You may find my research interesting or just my experiences may be valuable for you too. 

But for now, I would like to give you a bit more information about me. I am 24 years old and I am originally from Ontaneda a small village in Cantabria in the north of Spain. Completing my BSc in Chemical Engineering, I obtained a “Final degree award” by the University of Cantabria due to my academic transcript (2015). Since my first contact with the research world, while having a fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Education, I knew I would enrol in a PhD. During that fellowship, I developed the final degree project which was awarded the best final degree project in chemical engineering by the University of Cantabria (2015). Shortly after the BSc, I carried out an interuniversity MSc in Chemical Engineering in the University of Cantabria and the University of the Basque Country (2017). Before finishing my university studies, I enjoyed the excellent opportunity of completing my Master thesis by working in Dynasol Elastomers, one of the most important manufacturers of rubber in Europe. 

Beyond this, I am a normal guy who used to play football as a hobby (Now I can't play because of my knee but I'll be back again :D :D). I invest the rest of my spare time travelling or just being with friends.

As I said before, I have recently joined the University of Nottingham (2017) as Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD student. Besides the extraordinary level of research groups and well-known companies, Marie Curie fellowship means lots of training, trips, courses, conferences... In my opinion, all these factors will make me and the other fourteen fellows of the project grow professionally and personally. The SMARTI ETN is the framework where each of the fifteen students develops their own work. SMARTI, as its name implies (Sustainable Multi-functional Automated Resilient Transport Infrastructure), is mainly based on four pillars. Sustainable infrastructures maximizing the re-use of secondary materials and minimizing the impact on the people of the planet. Multi-functional transport infrastructures conceived not for transport purposes only. Automated transport infrastructures with the capability of pro-active communication by monitoring. And finally, Resilient transport infrastructures with the ability of quickly adapting to change and self-repairing.

My project, which is also included in SMARTI project, is the ESR 1: "REJUCAPHALT" - Encapsulated rejuvenators for asphalt mixture.

Summarizing broadly, the topic of my PhD is based on encapsulated rejuvenators for asphalt self-healing. That means roads which are able to automatically close the cracks which appear in the asphalt because of the weight of traffic. As you can see in the figure, the idea is to apply capsules which contain a rejuvenator able to make bitumen flow to heal the asphalt once the crack appears. The main objective is to define how the capsules applied for self-healing asphalts behave when they are embedded inside asphalt. Characteristics such as internal structure or the way in which capsules fracture, will be discovered with the help of numerical modelling and laboratory validation tests. This is a critical aspect to design new and more effective capsules with the properties needed. The computational simulations will also help us avoid numerous and tedious laboratory tests.

Now you know me a bit better and you also have an idea of what my project is about, I will update the blog at least once a month with more information about my research or other activities carried out related to my PhD. 

So that's all for today, I hope you found it interesting and see you soon!!!