As I wrote before, the defense itself was the very end of the entire process of writing, editing, re-editing, publishing and finally defending my doctoral dissertation.
One of the elements of the defense at TU Delft itself is the so-called "lekenpraatje" - a presentation for the laymen.
For my "Lekenpraatje" I decided to touch upon a few elements of my dissertation:
- the background: why was this research necessary, and what has been (or has not been) done previously
- an overview of the experiments: because all my friends and family know is that I spent crawling around on a dusty laboratory floor for a little less than 3 years, resulting in my ever-white-dusted appearance at random events, or my needing to wash my labjeans at high temperatures to get the cement dust out.
- beams versus slabs: or something that I have been trying to repeat over and over again: slabs in one-way shear behave differently than beams!
- Modified Bond Model: the theory that I worked on, and I tried to explain it as graphically as I could.
- Application to practice: What have we won by investing in experiments? We found that we can decrease the loads for calculation with almost 20% as a result of the recommendations that we formulated from our experiments. That does NOT mean we've "won" 20%, as the shear provisions in the current code result in lower shear capacities. Overall, we did see a modest improvement based on our recommendations and the Eurocodes as compared to the previously used national code.
All in all, I had about 20 minutes' worth of time allotted for the presentation - and it was a little on the short side. 30 minutes would have been more comfortable to stop and expand on a few topics along the way, but I think (and hope) it gave my friends and family an idea of what I worked on for the past few years.
If you are interested in the slides of this presentation, you can find them here: