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Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University master’s in Physics student, Luchian Pullen recently won a poster presentation prize for his research at the 21st Student Symposium in the Natural Sciences at North-West University. 
His supervisor at the University’s Centre for High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM), Dr Johan Westraadt, says Luchian will also present his research at the upcoming Microscopy Society of Southern Africa (MSSA) conference in Johannesburg in December. 
Luchian’s project specifically focusses on developing faster and more representative techniques for imaging dislocations in steels, which is one of the most important features for predicting mechanical properties. This work not only contributes to the safe and economical operation of the Eskom power plants, but also finds use in many other materials research areas where dislocations need to be imaged. Luchian hopes to do his doctorate under Dr Westraadt’s guidance. 
Dr Westraadt’s research group focusses on developing technologies that could predict when high-temperature power plant components, such as the steam pipes at Eskom, need to be replaced. They use the microscopes at the HRTEM to image the very small features of the steel and then use machine learning models to link this to the mechanical properties. These are measured by eNtsa in Mandela University’s Mechanical Engineering Department and the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Materials Engineering, he says. 
Luchian is also involved in the Yebo Physics project, a YouTube channel created by Prof Tim Gibbon in the Physics department, that provides additional tutoring for first-year students. He was also chosen as the postgraduate student representative in the Physics department. 
Luchian also received a prize from the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (SA Academy of Science and Art) at the symposium.  

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