IRT Saint Exupéry pursues a series of portraits devoted to the men and women who best represent the institute: its researchers. Their high-level skills and wealth of experience contribute hugely to IRT Saint Exupéry’s performance and unique position, which is so crucial for its members and partners.
Can you tell us about your career so far?
My childhood dream was to be a doctor. But after failing my first year at Montpellier, I decided to switch to physics. Today, in hindsight, choosing science has meant I’ve been able to enjoy a more varied career.
What are your specialties on the Bordeaux site?
The other specialty in our Bordeaux entity are innovative assembly technologies that replace current technologies (drilling, bolting and chemical surface treatment) to reduce weight and environmental constraints and cut costs. Our main clients in this area, ArianeGroup and Safran Composites, are developing extensively in this field.
In partnership with Arts & Métiers, we’re developing a part of the Andduro project on additive manufacturing, supported by our colleagues in Toulouse. We’re studying possibilities with Thales and Dassault on artificial intelligence for Bordeaux and collaborative digital platforms for embedded systems.
What noteworthy results have been achieved by members?
On the academic side, our two post-docs from CIRIMAT and IRCER have discovered things in a few months that are amazing for me, who has worked for 10 years in powder transformation processes! Functionalized oxide powder granules usually go as high as several hundred microns, and rarely less than 50. Our post-doc Marc Singlard at IRCER, who’s working on the wet oxide 2 project, has obtained much finer granules using relatively simple technology. This would mean we could, from a technical perspective, consider making some progress in fiber impregnation for producing, for instance, aeronautical parts for rear engine housings. Potentially solving this scientific problem would open up new avenues in terms of the industrial process.
What do you like about your work at IRT Saint Exupéry?
The management part is really very rewarding for me. I’ve got a very good team in Bordeaux, and they’re quite young and are gradually becoming independent. It’s nice to see them assert themselves because they’re the future of IRT. Everyone does their bit. What I was looking for when I came to IRT was to create something new, and this shared feeling gives plenty of impetus and fluidity to communications. I didn’t experience this pioneering mindset in my earlier professional lives, where there was already a history. The counterpart is that the system is very complex, what with the needs of manufacturers and academics, IRT’s independence and collaborations with other technical centres. It’s up to all of us, at our own level, to make our French R&D system more fluid.
 A prepreg is a semi-finished product in which a reinforcement is pre-impregnated with a matrix, which makes it highly resistant to breakage. In the case of CMCs, the matrix is a ceramic powder and the reinforcement is ceramic or sometimes carbon fibre. This composite, which is heavily charged with micro-sized ceramic particles, is intended to be consolidated at high temperatures to produce a finished product.
 Ceramics Research Institute (CNRS / University of Limoges).