Michael Stamm

Michael Stamm, Fachbereich Thermografische Verfahren

Quelle: BAM

Interview Serie "Kurz vorgestellt: Menschen@BAM"
Michael Stamm, Fachbereich Thermografische Verfahren

Michael, tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do in "your life before BAM"?

Through my studies of physics, I had the opportunity to get to know different scientific fields. I did my bachelor thesis in detector physics and my master thesis in geophysics. After my time at the university, I joined Brussels Airlines in Belgium as an MSCA fellow and did my PhD at the KU Leuven in parallel. In the European project "NDTonAIR" in which I was active, I moved more and more in the direction of NDT (non-destructive testing) and materials research.

What inspired you to pursue a career in science?

For me, a career in science was never the primary goal, I was more interested in solving problems. These can be small problems in daily work, but also large social and industrial problems. That's why there are always situations in my everyday work where I consider myself not as a scientist but as a problem solver.

Of course, scientists are also problem solvers, but unfortunately there are many people for whom science is something very abstract. These things that happen in the laboratory and are often perceived as not understandable or intellectual too demanding for everybody. But this is wrong. Research starts as soon as I approach a question in a structured way and look for new solutions. My two-year-old son also does this - in his own way.

So: what got me into science? My enjoyment of solving problems and finding answers.

What does your research focus on, and what excites you most about this topic?

Today I work at BAM with thermal inspection. We use infrared cameras to measure the surface temperature spatially and temporally resolved. From these measurements, material properties and subsurface damage and structures can be inferred.

The project I am mainly working on has the goal to inspect the rotor blades of wind turbines using thermography. We do not use active heating of the components, here rotor blades, but the sun and diurnal temperature fluctuations as a heat source.

Particularly exciting in this topic is on the one hand the method itself and on the other hand the framework in which it is applied. Modern thermographic cameras are very fast and sensitive. We can measure the smallest temperature change of about 0.03 degrees Celsius with a frame rate of up to 1000 Hz. This opens a lot of possibilities. On the other hand, my work can be seen as a small contribution towards climate neutrality. Because the inspection of wind turbines today is done with industrial climbers. However, the increasing number of wind turbines and the ever-larger rotor blades require new methods to ensure the safe and efficient operation of these turbines.

Why research at BAM? What do you like most about your work here?

The work here at BAM is characterized by two aspects that I have not seen before. Firstly, we are extremely well equipped, and the wealth of technical possibilities is exhilarating. On the other hand, I am lucky to be able to work very freely. So, I can also pursue questions that are not directly related to my primary project.

Have there been any obstacles or challenges in your career so far? And if so, how did you overcome them?

One of the great challenges in my kind of science is to transfer the new technologies into practice. Whenever we develop new technologies and modern testing methods, it takes a lot of persuasion until potential users trust them despite clear scientific findings.

If you should describe your job at BAM in one word – what would that be?

My job@BAM: Bringing thermal inspection of wind turbine rotor blades into practice.