Festival of Postgraduate Research - Preview no.1

Posted by mjs76 at Jun 08, 2011 11:40 AM |
Postgraduate posters from the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

Next week is our annual Festival of Postgraduate Research. A chance for some of our best postgrads to present posters of their work. In the run-up to the Festival, we’ll be summarising the presentations on Newsblog, grouped into slightly arbitrary bundles. Today, we’re looking at Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, Maths and Computer Science.

Microstructure of Weld Joints for Oil and Gas Transportation Systems

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Ali Tahaei

Ali Tahaei (Department of Engineering)

Ali worked in the oil/gas industry for six years before starting his PhD into how welding affects the joints between sections of deep sea pipeline. The aim of course, is to eliminate defects, especially among newly developed high-strength grades of pipeline. A paper which Ali co-authored with the Department of Engineering’s Dr Hongbiao Dong and Tata Steel’s Dr Shuwen Wen, as part of the EU-funded, Leicester-hosted MintWeld project, was recently presented at the 3rd International Conference on Advances in Solidification Processes in Germany.

Transformer Oil: The Green Alternative

Abdelghaffar A Abdelmalik (Department of Engineering)

As the world’s oil stocks start to dwindle, much consideration is being given to alternative sources of fuel, but we use oil for much more than driving cars and aeroplanes. Abdelghaffar’s poster describes his research into the practicalities of using palm kernel oil – which is environmentally friendly and non toxic with low viscosity, high oxidative stability and excellent electrical breakdown strength – as insulation in electrical transformers. This research has already earned Abdelghaffar a $5,000 grant from the Dialectrics and Electrical Insulation Society.

Best Practices for Engineers to design safer systems

Farah Lakhani (Department of Engineering)

The microchips that control everything from kettles to jet fighters are known as embedded systems and Farah’s research involves considering the application of ‘design patterns’ to these systems. The interesting angle is that ‘design patterns’ – a sort of adaptable template – were invented in 1977 by an architect, Christopher Alexander. Only recently have computer scientists started to adapt the architectural principles outlined by Alexander to their own work.

'Glassings' and Stabbings: 'Bottles as Weapons' - The Engineering Story

Gary Nolan (Department of Engineering/East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit)

Engineering Professor Sarah Hainsworth is an expert on the sharpness of knives but Gary’s research takes that idea to a whole new level. Knives at least have neat, sharp edges and precise shapes, but a broken bottle or pint glass is an irregular mixture of sharp and blunt angles. This research, using foam with a layer of silicon rubber, provides the first quantitative data on the sort of wounds that such improvised weapons can inflict.

Nanomaterials in the automotive industry for energy efficiency

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Sinan Kandemir receives an award for his MSc from Head of Engineering John Fothergill.

Sinan Kandemir (Department of Engineering)

Sinan is looking at the possibility of replacing steel in vehicle manufacturing with a much lighter metal such as aluminium or magnesium. The problem of course is that lighter means weaker, but light metals can be strengthened by incorporating nanosized ceramic particles into them. Sinan, who received an award for the highest overall mark in the Advanced Mechanical Engineering MSc last year (and is also Vice President of the University’s Turkish Society), is researching a method of creating such nanocomposites using ultrasound to evenly distribute the particles.

Dramatic Effects of the Sun on Near-Earth Space

James Hutchinson (Department of Physics and Astronomy)

James’ poster, which recently won the Rishbeth Prize at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, is based on research into how geomagnetic storms cause energy fluctuations in the magnetosphere which can affect technology such as GPS and even national power grids. James analysed 143 geomagnetic storms using radar data from the SuperDARN network and satellite images of the polar aurorae to investigate the flow of energy throughout the system.

The chemical content of hot white dwarf observations.

Nathan Dickinson (Department of Physics and Astronomy)

The matter which makes up a white dwarf should theoretically be just helium and/or hydrogen but many white dwarfs contain heavier elements. These have been assumed to originate in planets which were swallowed up by the star when it was a red giant but this research by Nathan (who presented at the Leicester-hosted GAIA conference earlier this year) suggests these heavier elements are actually in clouds of Local Interstellar Medium (LISM) around the white dwarf, rather than part of the star itself.

Zooming out of ‘Inner Space’

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Mayur Bapodra (standing, far left) meets HM The Queen at the opening of the David Wilson Library.

Mayur Bapodra (Department of Computer Science)

Mayur’s research considers the problem of zooming between microscopic (cell) and macroscopic (organ) levels of a biological computer model, rather like zooming from a street to a city on Google Earth. A paper which Mayur co-authored on this topic was presented at the International Colloquium on Graph and Model Transformation (GraMoT) in Berlin last year and published in Electronic Communications of the EASST. (PDF)

Future is knocking: Computers everywhere

Nosheen Gul (Department of Computer Science)

Nosheen’s poster was inspired by Mark Weiser, who was Chief Scientist at Xerox PARC and is known as ‘the Father of Ubiquitous Computing’. In 1988 Weiser said: “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it”. By looking at computer-saturated environments and then concentrating on ‘intelligent hospitals’, Nosheen’s research examines how close we are to a state of ‘ubiquitous computing’ – or have we already crossed that line?

Numerical integration on the sphere

Alexander Kushpel (Department of Mathematics)

Alexander’s research into ways of calculating the integrals of a spherical surface (such as the Earth) builds on more than two centuries of work, notably that of Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827) and Adrien-Marie Legendre (1752-1833). This sort of pure mathematics has real world implications for physics, astronomy, earth sciences, medicine and engineering. A paper by Alexander on the approximation of spheres will be presented by his co-author Jeremy Levesley at the triennial Conference on Foundations of Computational Mathematics (FoCM'11) in Budapest next month.

Visit the Festival of Postgraduate Research

The Festival of Postgraduate Research 2011 will be held in the Belvoir Suite on the Second Floor of the Charles Wilson Building between 11.00am and 1.00pm on Thursday 16 June. Entry is free so come along, browse the posters and talk with some of Britain’s brightest young postgrads.

See also:

  • Preview no.2: English, Archaeology and Ancient History, Education, Economics and Sociology
  • Preview no.3: Psychology, Medical and Social Care Education, Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Preview no.4: Geology, Geography and Chemistry
  • Preview no.5: Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, Infection Immunity and Inflammation, Biology and Biochemistry
  • Preview no.6: Cardiovascular Sciences