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Ben Silvester


SAE Student 2016-17


“It’s great to be surrounded by such much automotive expertise”

Ben completed his MSc Sustainable Automotive Engineering in 2017. He is currently undertaking a PhD in the automotive sector here at WMG.

“I’ve always had a passion for cars and automotive technology,” said Ben Silvester as he took a break from working on his dissertation to speak to us. “So after finishing my Physics degree at Warwick, the MSc in Sustainable Automotive Engineering looked like a really interesting option.”

Ben also has a keen interest in electrical machine design, so an MSc programme that focuses on the technology that’s driving vehicle electrification and sustainability was the perfect next step. “The development of energy-efficient vehicles is one of the hottest technological areas on the planet right now,” he explained. “The chance to learn so much about it in just one year was too good an opportunity to miss.”

Collaborative working

When Ben started his course, he was surprised by the mix of lectures and interactive learning. “The course is extremely well planned,” he said. “I really enjoyed the collaborative aspect - working in small groups to solve problems and create solutions. For example, very early on we were given a project to design an energy storage and recovery system, then present is as a solution for a particular vehicle. I learned just as much from these exercises as I did from the lectures.

“Actually there were many different activities that kept the course very stimulating right the way through,” Ben continued. “Workshops and practicals for example, as well as guest lecturers from industry, research and Warwick’s Business School. There were also lots of visits to companies and our on-site labs so we had plenty of opportunities to talk to and learn from industry and research experts. WMG’s state-of-the-art facilities and automotive expertise are well known, and it’s great to be surrounded by all of that.”

A terrific learning experience

For his dissertation, analysis stress in electrical steel used in electric motors, Ben says: “Right now I’m carrying out sample testing,” he explained. “It involves polishing surfaces to a fine finish then applying stresses, observing changes to the magnetic properties and applying a theoretical model to explain why those changes happen. It’s given me the chance to work with the team at WMG's Advanced Steel Research Centre, which has been a terrific learning experience.”

Once he has completed his MSc course, Ben is staying on at Warwick to carry out further research for a PhD. Following on from his dissertation work, he will be the looking into the reasons behind errors in simulation results with prototype electric motors. This is in collaboration with the HVEMS project (High Volume E-Machines Manufacturing Supply) which is led by Jaguar Land Rover. “I’ve used so much of what I learned at WMG to come up with the idea and the proposals,” he said. “The course modules set me up perfectly for this.”

Finally, we asked Ben what advice he would give to anyone coming to study at WMG. “Time management is the big thing. You need to sort out how you are going to balance what is a very challenging workload throughout the year, and still give yourself time to follow your interests too. There are lots of great extra-curricular activities here and you don’t want to miss out on those.

“Once you’ve worked out how to manage your time, everything goes smoothly. Our course leader was brilliant and helped us all to keep on track – and as a student group, we all supported each other every step of the way.”