What was your background and what made you decide to study for a EngD at WMG?
My background is in mechanical engineering. I previously spent four years working as an aerospace stress engineer on AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) helicopters. It was nearly by chance that I came to know about WMG’s research excellence. At the time, I was looking for more challenging opportunities and I found an EngD position at WMG which combined simulation, testing and validation of crash elements for railway vehicles. After visiting WMG, I was convinced that this was an opportunity not to be missed so I joined the programme.
Tell us about your research project - what were you working on and in what area?
My research project was about simulation, testing and validation of a novel energy absorber for railway vehicles. It involved coming up with a new concept for rail energy absorbers, simulating its performance and testing prototypes to validate the simulation. The project was sponsored by Oleo International, an energy absorption solutions suppliers.
After an initial period of proposing and discarding potential concepts for new energy absorbers, one particularly promising concept was selected. The task then involved simulating the selected concept and testing specimens under quasi-static and dynamic conditions to validate my predictions. This was a challenging and stimulating task. The proposed energy absorber showed improved performance over existing absorbers and as a result Oleo International supported the patenting of the energy absorber.
How did you find the experience of studying for your EngD? Was it what you expected? Any advice for future students?
Deciding to switch a good job at a blue chip company for an uncertain prospect of pursuing a doctorate was a very difficult decision. I do not regret my decision as the time spent at WMG, having access to state-of-the-art facilities, and the support of world class academics and researchers, has proved invaluable. As for advice for students considering studying a PhD, the start of a research programme, without clear instructions and directions, may be little bit daunting. Perseverance is key in those initial stages.
Where are you now? What are you plans?
I work in the research department of Oleo International, which is a direct result of my PhD research project. My intention is to acquire and consolidate their status as a world expert in railway crashworthiness.