25 September 2023

Engineers Agnes Karlén and Emma Torstensson received an award of SEK 30,000, for their master's thesis on composite materials .

Two women with diploma and flowers.
Agnes Karlén and Emma Torstensson was awarded for their thesis. Privat

The scholarship comes from the Swedish Institute of Composites (Sicomp). 

"It is, of course, great fun to receive such an appreciation. A proof that it was a valuable work, which also may lead to some benefit. It is good to work close to business already during the education", they say.

Agnes Karlén and Emma Torstensson studied the MSc programme in mechanical engineering with a focus on energy, environment and management as well as technology for sustainable development. They wrote the thesis in materials technology in collaboration with the boat manufacturer X Shore, which works with lightweight materials for its electrically powered composite motorboats.

"We compared different types of materials with what the manufacturer uses today: Glass fibre and carbon fibre. You can use natural fibres, but this can lead to a shorter lifespan. The material must meet the same technical requirements for strength, durability and weight. But it's also about environmental impact, economics, and market demands. There is a lot of parameters to take into account" says Emma Torstensson.

They wrote the master thesis together, in 2022. Today, Agnes Karlén works with the construction of power lines, at Svenska Kraftnät in Stockholm. And Emma Torstensson as a process engineer at Holmen Iggesund's paper mill. Improvement and development of materials, equipment and methods have become their everyday life.

Have you benefited from the experience from the ex-job in working life?
"Absolutely. That's how it is in working life, there are a lot of parameters and no obvious priority. You want to optimise everything, which is difficult. When studying, you may often get a case that doesn't involve so many choices, in order to arrive at something. That's why it's good to be able to work in real business when you do your ex-job", says Emma Torstensson.

"It gave us a lot to work together with the company, says Agnes Karlén. The supervisor, Erik Olsson, brought up many perspectives that we had not thought of".

They are also very grateful for the support they have received from LiU supervisor Mohamed Sahbi Loukil:

"They have all been very committed. Our ex-job probably wouldn't have been as good without these people".

How has it been to study at LiU?
"It's a good city to study in. And student life has been fantastic, it's a really good university from that perspective. You can look back on it as a really fun time. It's a chance to meet a lot of people. One's peers are one's future colleagues in professional life. We have a very broad and good education. Many of our fellow students have gone into different industries and do very different things".



The title of the master's thesis: “Composite Materials in Marine Environments: A Comparative Study Viewing Different Composite Materials for Boat Hull Applications; Current State and Future Adoptions”. Academic supervisor from LiU: Mohamed Sahbi Loukil
Supervisor from X Shore: Erik Olsson
Examiner from LiU: Mikael Segersäll
Summary: X Shore is a company that manufactures an electric motor boat, the Eelex 8000, whose hull today consists of a fibreglass reinforced vinyl ester composite. This study aimed to help X Shore towards the goal of improving hull durability by comparing different composite materials based on material properties, cost and environmental impact.

The study consisted of three main parts: A literature review, a case study based on the hull of the Eelex 8000 and finally a materials investigation.
Knowledge of moisture absorption , UV radiation, combustibility and temperature was considered to ensure a sustainable choice of material for the hull. Four different matrix materials (vinyl ester, epoxy, PEEK and polycarbonate) together with four different fibre materials (E-glass, carbon, linen and jute) were included in the study.

Swedish composite scholarship

In order to encourage the interest of students and degree workers in choosing subjects with applications in the field of composites, carrying out project and degree work in the field and at the same time promoting contact between the students, research institutes and industry, the Foundation Swedish Institute of Composites SICOMP has announced a scholarship for degree work in the field of polymeric fibre composites . The scholarship amount is SEK 30,000.

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