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I enjoy all works of art

Lei Han, assistant researcher at InnoRenew CoE. Main area of research: Creep behavior of thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) densified wood

  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I lived in Nanjing (southeast China) in my childhood. I am living in Koper, currently, a coastal town in Slovenia.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I have studied wood science and engineering since I entered the bachelor’s program at Nanjing Forestry University. The reason why I am focused on this area is wood as a natural biomaterial has great potential to benefit sustainable human development.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

Wood is a viscoelastic material; its behavior under load is time-dependent and has characteristics of both elastic and viscous materials. A common example is if you put some heavy stuff on a wood bookshelf, the wood plank will deform (bend) as time goes by. As a result, the deformation will reduce the service life of such wood products. The intensity of this deformation is influenced by many factors like material properties, stress level, environment temperature and relative humidity. Considering timber has become globally an increasingly popular building material in commercial, medium and high-rise buildings due to the general concern of the public regarding the environment and climate-change mitigation, it is necessary to evaluate its long-term behavior to prolong its service life and eliminate the safety risk.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

Normally, I start my work by skimming some freshly published papers in the morning. Then take on the lab work and return to the result analysis or literature reading again in the afternoon.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

Make assumptions based on the previous knowledge and verify them by carrying out well-designed experiments. Then I can make some progress for the final objective or refresh my knowledge no matter if the experiment goes as I expected or not.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

I think the biggest challenge is the creep test is very time-consuming. However, my experiment result will be a part of the reliable database, which will contribute to the creep behavior numerical modeling later.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

Outer space activities, for example, the moon landing. Because they represent the spirit of adventure and exploration.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

I enjoy all works of art, which includes various kinds of story, especially science fiction. The life of a human is short and limited, but thanks to the invention of such works of art, I feel life is extended several times.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

The speech “We choose to go to the Moon” from President John Kennedy.

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

The local people are very easy-going and hospitable.

  • What do you like about Slovenia and what do you miss most from your homeland?

I love the natural scenery and weather of the coastal area of Slovenia. The temperature seems never to drop to freezing over the year. For sure, I miss my parents, friends and local food from my homeland.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

Any seaside place where I can enjoy the sunset.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Curiosity on an unknown area.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

I am not sure I understand this question correctly. But the most meaningful epiphany I got so far is getting a start in practice at the proper time instead of making a perfect plan or preparation on paper.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

Considering the five senses of humans, wood is so charmful by making people peaceful through touch, visual, smell and sound. I think wood is naturally attractive to humans somehow. In addition, the flexibility and fixation of wood shaping when using the thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) process is very interesting.