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Route into engineering
Typical university route loved STEM took Maths, Chemistry and Physics at A-Levels, University undergraduate and straight to PhD. However, it was actually on placement that I changed my mind about going into industry after my Masters because I missed the challenge of daily education I choice to apply for a research PhD.
I research new forms of sound proofing liners for jet engine inlets.
I am designing a new metamaterial (material designed with an unnatural structure e.g. metal foam) acoustic liner specifically for the low frequency extreme working conditions of a jet engine. Traditional methods are bulky and only effective for medium to high frequency noise, but aircraft at take off and landing are dominate by noise less then 1000Hz. This will not only reduce the harmful noise at airport, but improve the health of residents. The new manufacturing methods means that these liner produce less waste and can be made much thinner and light helping to reduce fuel consumption of the aircraft.
I research jet engine noise reduction through sound proofing liners to reduce the noise around airports. This means I constantly cycle through tasks to keep the project progressing. I am looking to design a new form of sound proofing, test in through computer simulation and test it experimentally. Therefore I could be designing on the computer; researching new sound proofing or noise theory; working on my computer testing simulation; carrying out experiments; coding my results and making graph and writing it all up for my PhD thesis. You have to be adaptable and develop lots of computer based skills, but I still do practical work.
I am very active in engineering volunteering because I want engineering to be more accessible, more inclusive and enjoyable as a careers. Since 2016 I have been a STEM ambassador and I love going to school and meeting the next generation of engineers. As university teacher in addition to my studies it makes me a much better educator to write and delivery talks to variety of ages and brining university science to a primary schools. I have been on school engineering societies, the local IMechE committee which has given me a lot of confidence so now I have several roles in WES. Even though I am still a student I have been on the University Groups Board, Early Career Board and am now the Student Group Liaison Officer, Members Directors committee and Communication Directors Committee. I turned out that age/ experience wasn’t my barrier to positions of responsibility, but the fact I didn’t actually apply.
Join common interest societies, attend talks being an active member of your field makes you a better engineer, it makes understanding problems easier as you have seen so many more examples and you have more people to ask and support you.
- I know I am working towards a unique contribution to my field and I have a lot of control over my research and how I manage my own time. The challenge is incredibly rewarding
- As I work on my own I can be very isolating and frustrating when things don’t go well or you make mistakes; but I have to look at is as part of the learning process and as I get older (so far in constant education since 1999) this becomes easier.
One day people will take noise seriously it is linked to stress, hearing loss, heart problems and dementia. Currently there are rules on how loud things can be but in 50 years this will be much tighter and we as a community will have a reduced tolerance for noise which will be amazing for overall health. The sound proofing you see daily will not longer be big bits of foams or just putting up walls but intricate attractive designs known as metamaterials which change the sound wave rather than just blocking it. These are much thinner, lighter, works on more frequency of noise and cause a larger reduction in noise than the current solutions. There will also be more adaptable noise controls and even ways of turning noise into electrical energy. Imagine no longer hears cars, lorries, trains and plan instead there noise is used to light the streets at night.