Women in Cryogenics and Superconductivity 2019

Kathi Bond

Kathi-BondOwner of CryoPlus Inc.

What projects are you working on now?

Over the last 25 years, CryoPlus has taken a lead in the cryogenic industry through our commitment to providing superior service. Our process of deep-freezing metal parts, for example, makes internal structure more uniform, durable and stronger.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Our cryogenic processing increases abrasive wear with one permanent treatment and extends the useful life of cutting tools. It also creates a denser molecular structure and closes the grain structure, resulting in a larger contact surface area that reduces friction, heat and wear.

Unlike coatings, cryogenic treatment changes the entire structure, not just the surface, so subsequent refinishing or regrinding operations don’t affect the permanent improvements resulting from the processing. When the cryo treated tool does wear, the degree of wear reportedly is less severe, slower and more uniform. Therefore, less material must be removed to re-sharpen it.

CryoPlus has been certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). WBENC is a nonprofit organization committed to educating the public, the government and America’s corporations about the products and services available from companies owned, managed and controlled by women.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

It might help to send female scientists into local schools and find out what inspires young women to see careers in science. They could explain their everyday work and how they became a part of this huge community of scientists.

Most importantly, the women should describe what first interested them about the field. Unfortunately, women are often steered towards careers outside the science field at an early age, and there is a significant gender bias that exists in this field. Local STEM initiatives across the country are focused on what works to engage and support girls.

Bhumika Joshi

Assistant general manager within the Cryoscientific Division at INOX India Pvt. Ltd., a manufacturer of cryogenic equipment

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on several projects, the most important of which involves ITER—specifically designing, manufacturing, installation and testing of Group Y cryolines and warmlines.

As part of this project, I work as the Technical Responsible Officer who handles the Group Y ITER cryolines, while as Engineering Design Head I take care of engineering in the cryogenic projects being executed by my division.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My first accomplishment as a cryogenic engineer was the successful design of a multi-process helium transfer line with four process pipes at 4.5 K.

This transfer line was a prototype of the ITER cryolines and with its successful execution we became eligible for bidding on the ITER cryoline project. During the design of Proto cryoline, we demonstrated that our design was safe for all the stringent load combinations—including loss of vacuum, external pressurization, transport accelerations apart from pressure test and normal operation load cases.

It was a great challenge and a wonderful experience to both learn and then prove myself capable of handling a project that not only brought pride to me but to my entire company. As a team, we bid successfully and were awarded the project of design, manufacturing, installation and testing the Group Y cryolines and warmlines.

I have worked on other important projects of which I am also proud, including a Horizontal Test Cryostat (HTS-2) for testing two 650 MHz “dressed” SCRF cavities for RRCAT-Indore and the design and manufacture of a helium cryostat for testing 2 K superconducting magnets.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

Women these days are not behind in any field, so there are many women working and doing very well within the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity.

However—when I still look around—there are more men than women. Cryogenics plays an important role in the field of material science and medical science. It will be great if more women take on roles and contribute to research in advancement of cryogenics while becoming role models for other young girls.

Fortunately, times are changing and more and more women are receiving technical degrees. However, a lot of people still believe that technical fields are meant for boys, so schools and colleges should invite women from the technology fields to raise awareness about the exciting career prospects and possibilities in this area.

I started my career after my studies as a graduate engineer trainee within the automobile industry, and I got into the field of cryogenics by chance. Based on my experience, I strongly believe that with enthusiasm and determination it is possible to be successful in any career and to be respected and treated as a professional in any work environment.

Christine Hoa

Christine-HoaLaboratory head at Refrigeration and Thermal Hydraulics, overseeing a team of twelve engineers, technicians and PhD students

What projects are you working on now?

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission or CEA (French: Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives), is a French public government-funded research organization in the areas of energy, defense/security, information technology and health technology.

I work within its cryogenics-engineering department in Grenoble, France (a team known as the d-SBT département des systems basses temperature led by Lionel Duband).

My work there includes many projects, such as the JT-60SA (Japanese tokamak in the Broader Approach agreement between Europe and Japan), ITER, EU DEMO, the Industrial R&D Laboratory with Air Liquide focusing on simulations for large helium refrigeration, and the Cryogenics Turbulence Facility.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

The successful commissioning of the JT-60SA cryogenic system stands out, a project occurring in 2015 and 2016. During 14 months in Naka, Japan, the team—including staff from the Japanese and European Research institutes (QST and CEA), European Fusion agency (F4E) and industry (Air Liquide)—worked together to demonstrate performance of the cryogenic system. The equivalent refrigeration power is 9.5 kW at 4.5 K, with challenging pulse operation. The project had many challenges, for which team spirit was the key point to success.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

I wish there were more women involved in cryogenics and superconductivity, especially in high positions within academia (professors, senior researchers) and management.
What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

We must encourage women to work in the cryogenics and superconductivity fields. Grants can help them establish projects in our field, including those given to PhD, post-doc, young professionals and senior researchers.

We should also foster strong networking among women in cryogenics and superconductivity (using social events, mentorship and more). There are already great women in cryogenics and superconductivity, but because there are not many, they do not know each other and cannot collectively cheer up and encourage each other.

Dipali Vaidya

Assistant general manager of estimation and procurement at Inox India Pvt. Ltd.

What projects are you working on now?

I am currently involved with both cryogenic helium transfer lines and warm lines for the ITER project in France.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

There are many technical requirements and challenges involved in scientific projects, including procuring specific material to meet both technical and project requirements.
Quality requirements are also very stringent, creating the challenge of getting materials in a commercial market.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

Women can do anything, so companies should involve them in all related fields, including design, manufacturing and installation.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

There are very few resources that provide information regarding cryogenics and superconductivity, so more resources should be developed to make sure information from these fields reaches them.

Elaine M. Lim

Elaine-M-LimSenior project engineer within the engineering and integration division at Aerospace Corporation

What projects are you working on now?

Everything I work on is for building up the space industrial base, whether for legacy space systems, launch vehicles or for the newer “smallsats.” Some of that work got me familiar with the cryocooler community and I have kept tabs on developments within the cryogenic community ever since.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I was one of two people who developed a methodology that prioritized about 75 critical technologies of the space industrial base. The methodology is now used by multiple agencies because it is quantifiable, defendable and easy to understand. The project has also been briefed to Secretary of the Air Force, while the methodology has been recognized and adapted for other US spacefaring agencies.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

I would hope they are the same advances that are afforded to men! Deng Xiao Ping once said: “What does it matter what color the cat, as long as it catches mice?” In that same vein, gender should not be an issue at all—women are just as capable as men.
What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

That’s probably not a gender issue as much as it is a question of opportunity.

Sylvie Nicollet

Research engineer at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

What projects are you working on now?

Contributing to JT-60SA, ITER, EU-DEMO and Tore Supra/WEST.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am most proud of accomplishments I achieved during a three-year contract with the ITER International Organization. From 2012 to 2015, my efforts focused on many things, including thermohydraulics in ITER magnets and calculation and analysis of quench (with potential occurrence of smooth quench); and the challenge of determining a secondary quench detection with thermohydraulic signals, which is “safety class” on ITER toroidal field coils. My team met this challenge, utilizing a strong cooperation between the three institutes working in cryogenics and superconductivity in CEA (IRFM Cadarache, INAC Grenoble and IRFU Saclay).

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

I would like to see more women in representative cryogenics and superconductivity commissions, while also becoming involved in expertise committees and leading and managing different projects (such as ITER or JT-60SA).

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

The best approach would be to reinforce the networking between women in cryogenics and superconductivity fields across the different applications: fusion, accelerators, medical applications, space, hydrogen automotive sector and much more.
A complementary approach would be to develop national and international courses within these fields, possibly even summer courses dedicated to female participation.

Dagmar Czekalla

Dagmar-Czekalla Manager of cryogenic business at RUAG

What projects are you working on now?

RUAG’s cryogenic business includes several projects focused on thermal insulation at very low temperatures.

The cryogenic business was created as a spin-off of the space activities of RUAG Space, which is a leading supplier to the space industry in Europe and United States. My current projects also include thermal insulation for applications on earth, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or insulation of high-performance power cables, such as high purity aluminum tape.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

I would like to see a balanced proportion of women in positions based on skills and talents. So I think it would be best to showcase the variety of jobs within cryogenic businesses and to have an open and proactive approach to informing and advancing women.