Arctic DTU attracts international students

Friday 07 Feb 20

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Gunvor Marie Kirkelund
Associate Professor
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 17 30

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Martin Kotol
Assistant Professor
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 19 30

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Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen
Associate Professor
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 22 51
Arctic DTU Campus Sisimiut attracts international students for Arctic Semester and challenges of extreme engineering.

Every year, engineering students from the EU and all around the world apply for the Arctic Semester at Arctic DTU Campus Sisimiut. Over the past three years, the majority of participants have been international students and the start of the study in February 2020 was no exception. Out of the 20 students in this year's semester, 14 students come from an international background.

"The courses are specific to understanding the Arctic environment, climate, and society, and challenge us to apply environmental and civil engineering principles to the needs of this area."
Vivienne Jaehn-Kreibaum exchange student from the University of British Columbia, UBC, Canada.

DTU has offered the Arctic Semester since 2016, but this year the start of study was the coldest ever. Cold Climate student Renato Sperandio Rodrigues from Brazil saw snow for the first time in his life, and Canadian Vivienne Jaehn-Kreibaum exchange student from the University of British Columbia, UBC, fulfilled her dreams of working in an extreme environment when she set up a tent site at a temperature of minus 22 degrees.

"This particular program, Engineering for Extreme Environments, is not offered at UBC or at any other institution in Canada, to my knowledge. The courses are specific to understanding the Arctic environment, climate, and society, and challenge us to apply environmental and civil engineering principles to the needs of this area. While environmental and civil engineering programs, degrees, and courses are offered at most Canadian universities, they are broad in nature and often do not offer the opportunity to be studied in such a concentrated manner, directly in the field, with other students who are also studying such a specific topic, ”says Vivienne Jaehn-Kreibaum.

Arctic Semester is offered by DTU Byg at Arctic DTU Campus Sisimiut in Midwestern Greenland. The semester spans five months from February to the end of June and begins with courses that set the stage for engineering in the Arctic. Students look at the infrastructure, nature and climate and environmental challenges before immersing themselves in a specialization course in construction or infrastructure.

Prefabrication of houses

This year's theme on construction in Arctic conditions is the prefabrication of houses. The students gain insight into the latest knowledge and the teaching suggests that the students can continue to work on analyzes of whether prefabrication is an opportunity in the Arctic and what Greenland can gain from introducing this construction method.

“Prefabrication is a technology that has been introduced many places in the world but has no tradition in Greenland. We look at, among other things, what the construction industry could gain from building elements in a protected environment during the winter months and assembling them at the construction site in the summer,” says Martin Kotol, assistant professor at DTU Civil Engineering and teacher on Arctic Semester.

New airports

On the infrastructure line, Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen, Associate Professor at DTU Civil Engineering and lecturer at the Arctic Semester focuses on the construction of airports in the Arctic (Greenland) and the special conditions engineers encounter, in the special geotechnical, climate and logistical settings.

“It is particularly interesting these years when Greenland is building three new major international airports and a number of new regional airports are on the drawing board. We work with permafrost in sediments and mountains, drill cores of frozen soil and install temperature sensors in the ground from which the students subsequently work with the data,” says Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen.

On the infrastructure line, students also gain insight into special issues about working with and in rockmasses, core drilling and blasting, combined with practical experiences in collaboration with the Greenland School of Minerals and Petroleum. The course also covers geodetic topics such as satellite positioning, and surveying and the establishment of local coordinate systems. These competences are tested by surveying the local airport constructions in Sisimiut.

At the Arctic Semester 2020, as students complete the last course, they will prepare a report describing and analyzing various design and construction options for one of the major planned airports, taking into account the special geotechnical challenges presented by each construction case.

 

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